Originally Posted by drewski180
Do all of those people I see on weekends have all the proper safety gear?
That one made me laugh, drewski. Of COURSE they don't all have proper safety gear. A minor little detail like that isn't enough to stop some people from shreddin' the gnar.
More seriously, though, the answer to your main question is kind of problematic. I don't know Berthoud Pass other than from driving over it a few times, but I'm willing to bet that there are areas accessible from the pass that are perfectly safe to ski without a beacon. That's certainly the case here in the Tetons.
The problem is having enough experience and judgement to be able to tell WHERE it's safe and where it's not. Your level of knowledge may not be well developed enough yet to keep you in places that are safe enough without the gear. Plus, if you go out intending to only stay in the safe places, you have to be enormously aware of not succumbing to the temptation to ski that really good-looking line over there - where it's a little steeper and out in the open.
The safest answer to your question is that you really shouldn't go out unless you have all the gear and at least some of the training. The fuzzier truth, however, is that there's lots of safe skiing out there in the mountains if you know how to find it in the first place and stay there in the second.
I think Bob Lee's suggestion looks like a really good one.