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Becoming a ski bum for a month. Advice on spots in CO.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey guys....long time reader....first time poster. I finally finished up school with a BS in EE....and always swore I would drive out to Colorado and maybe even Utah to spend a full month of just ripping it at all the mountains I can get a chance at. I purchased my Epic Pass in the fall and am getting ready to leave in around 2 weeks.

The plan is to sleep in the back of my truck as many nights as possible before meeting up with a group of friends at the end of February. I'm fully prepared to sleep in the truck....I have done some winter camping in extremely cold conditions....so that shouldn't be a problem.

I also have all the AT gear for some potential backcountry trips if I hook up with any good peeps at the resorts.

Any suggestions on good spots to camp out in the truck. So far I plan on maybe sticking around (I-70) Frisco for a few days and hit the nearby resorts my pass is good at. The only areas Im really familiar with is Aspen/Snowmass and Steamboat.
post #2 of 17
Crested Butte
post #3 of 17
Parking and camping is a bit tougher these days than it used to be.  The cops and forest service like to hassle people more than they used to if they see the same vehicle in the same spots for more than a night.  There may be some newer places to go than this, but here's where a lot of people used to camp in Summit County:

1.  Copper used to be very camper friendly.  If you camped off Hwy 91 beyond the Corn lot near Ten Mile diversion you could easily get away with it.  Maybe not so much now.

2.  Do not camp at the Frisco exit 201, no matter how tempting that trailhead is.  Forest Service hassles folks there and if you've been drinking at all and you're sleeping in your vehicle, you won't like the visit from the sheriffs.

3.  Officer's Gulch is sometimes a better bet, but I don't think I'd go there either.

4.  If you're in Keystone, then I'd recommend driving out to Montezuma.  It's very camper friendly.

5.  If you're in Breck, then I would have recommended driving out to Tiger, but I'm not sure what's going on out there these days.  Instead, if you drive all way down to the end of French Gulch Rd, there's a little parking area and I don't think they hassle people much there.

6.  If you're in Dillon or Frisco, you could simply try the Walmart, Safeway, Target, or City Market parking lots as long as it hasn't snowed.  If you have lights on in your truck it may attract attention though.

Copper used to offer great deals on rooms in their employee housing building.  You could get a room for $20 a night - it's cramped, and kind of like a hostel, but not a bad deal for a few weeks.  Not sure if that's still offered.  It was managed by Copper's HR department.  (Call 970-968-2882 and ask for HR.)
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaliKona View Post

Crested Butte

Seconded. If you do, shoot me a PM and I'll show you around.  Also, consider an Igloo. Way warmer than the back of your truck or a tent.  www.grandshelters.com
post #5 of 17
In Frisco, don't try the Walmart, Safeway, etc. parking lots; that is a 100% sure way to get busted.  Ditto for Officer's Gulch.

In fact, you can't park north of I-70 at Exit 201, but the parking lot just SW of exit 201 is the only place in Frisco that it is actually legal to park long-term.  I don't know about car-camping there.

Between Frisco and Breck, if you take Tiger Run out out to the drop-dead end where it becomes gravel pits, you might get away with it; I don't know for sure.
post #6 of 17
I spent the 05-06 season at Crested Butte. Lots of very good in-bounds terrain. It claims to have the most lift-serviced extreme terrain the US. Its a little more isolated than other big ski areas.
post #7 of 17
For the first time in a long time, jobs are more scarce than housing. Since you already have and epic pass.   I would be willing to bet you could probably find somewhere to live in Summit County for 5-600/month, maybe even Vail?  
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm....you got me wondering about finding a rental for a month if its only $500-$600..
Ohh and thanks for the heads up about the no go at the walmart in frisco.....I was planning on spending the first few nights there. Guess Breck is looking promising now.
post #9 of 17
If you need a motel for the night on the cheap, there's the Turntable Motel in Minturn.  Cheapest place to stay in Summit/Eagle County.

www.mtvacations.com/turntable.html
post #10 of 17
I'm quite reluctant in offering this up, I hope too many people don't see it, BUT, if you exit east vail, and take the first right after passing vail swim and raquet club, and make the next right, there is a community of duplexes, and with the exception of someone reporting you (which I doubt would ever happen unless you are washing your pits outside of your door and climb back in), I have never seen any parking enforcement.  In the mornings, you can park at the free shuttle pick up right next to I70/E Vail onramp.  Do us all a favor though and don't park in front of the houses.
post #11 of 17
 Anyone know if they check the lot behind eric's? I assume they do but I have never seen the lot empty since there is almost always people out.

Or maybe the pull offs by Abasin? I have never tried but those always looked like good spots to me.

If your camping you need to be prepared for multiple sub zero nights theres camping where theres snow on the ground and theres COLD camping just be aware that its cold enough that if your properly equipped you could easily die of exposure especially when you get really cold try to start up your car just to find the engine won't turnover. 
post #12 of 17
How about the Beach up at A Basin?  A bit out of the way but that is pretty much tradition up there.

Cold soaked car/truck is a bit different than  normal winter camping as you know.  You may have or might consider an inverter on your rig.  Being able to create hot water or even have a low powered microwave to heat something could be oh so civilized.
post #13 of 17
Vale is great................just don't poach any lessons.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

How about the Beach up at A Basin?  A bit out of the way but that is pretty much tradition up there.

Cold soaked car/truck is a bit different than  normal winter camping as you know.  You may have or might consider an inverter on your rig.  Being able to create hot water or even have a low powered microwave to heat something could be oh so civilized.


I'm a step ahead of you. I have my primus trimix stove ready besides my titanium cook set. I have a months supply of moutain house freeze dried meals, and around 3lbs of habanero flavored beef jerky. And for those long hikes and skinning up through the side country....my flask is all ready filled with blackberry brandy. 
I'm getting soo psyched about the trip....just dusted off my big rossi bsquad 189's. I'm really counting on hitting some sick lines while im out there....so hopefuly i can hook up some good skiers. (I hate skiing alone while doing difficult runs...always fear being stranded upsidedown in a tree well or crevas)
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

 Anyone know if they check the lot behind eric's? I assume they do but I have never seen the lot empty since there is almost always people out.


Anywhere in Breck is bad news.  Most parking in town only goes until 2am.  That lot behind Eric's is doubly worse because the condo complex (ResortQuest property?) has access to some of those parking places.
post #16 of 17
 I hope you like being assaulted by the forest service for "tensing up" and charged with assault of a police officer.  Jill Wick, you are so going to burn in hell!!
 
 
 
 
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Ski 'Bum,' A Relic Of Fading Era Jailed

JASON BLEVINS, The Denver Post
GEORGETOWN, Colo. (AP) ― Charlie Toups is Colorado's ultimate ski bum and a relic of a fading era.

Since 1976, the 63-year-old has skied 120 days a season, shoveling snow and doing other odd jobs for a few bucks and skiing every day. What affirms his title as ski bum supreme is the fact that at night he retired to his car, parked close to the lifts.

But now Toups' brawny 6-foot frame is wedged in a jail cell in Georgetown, imprisoned for the past 57 days on misdemeanor federal charges of camping on public land, possessing marijuana and assaulting a Forest Service officer.

He could walk free with time served if he admitted his guilt. But Toups won't do that.

"I've lived this life for 33 years and now all the sudden I'm supposed to admit I'm guilty? I can't do that," he said from jail last week. "I don't know what changed after the Forest Service tolerated me for all these years. I thought we were just respecting each other. Let me ask you, is it snowing?"

Toups' tale is the embodiment of ski "bumdom." Since the 1970s, he has bummed at Mammoth in California, Snowbird in Utah, Oregon's Mount Hood, Aspen Highlands and all the ski areas in Summit County. His home — for nearly a decade — was a Volkswagen Beetle, the passenger seat torn out so he could sleep.

"He had a little tunnel down to it like a snow cave," said Halsted Morris, a longtime Loveland skier.

"He was the real deal"

After a few years at Loveland, where Toups worked in the ski area's kitchen, he moved on to Aspen Highlands, where every morning he stomped steep snow as part of the ski patrol's avalanche mitigation. A few hours bootpacking earned him a day's lift ticket. He haunted the mid-mountain cafeteria, munching food from abandoned trays. He stocked shelves at the local grocery at night.

"He was the epitome of ski bums. He was the real deal," said Mike Tierney, a veteran ski patroller at Highlands. "He was just a totally eccentric individual who was here to ski. We don't see those kinds of ski bums anymore. And that's kind of sad."

Mac Smith, the longtime director of the Highlands patrol, spent a few seasons in the 1970s camping at the base of the ski hill. He remembers Toups with fondness, as a "gentle giant."

"He was a really intelligent person," Smith said. "He just had a different drum beat, and he followed it."

Toups first ran afoul of the Forest Service, which prohibits living on public land, in 2007 when he was back living in Loveland in the ski area parking lot.

So, he fired up his most recent home — a tired Ford, its hood and doors closed with ropes, its bed topped with a dilapidated camper. He rattled over Loveland Pass, towing a trailer full of old skis and a rusting Honda motorcycle. He landed in the Colorado Department of Transportation utility lot on Forest Service land next to Arapahoe Basin ski area.

On Nov. 14, five months after a Forest Service cop issued Toups a ticket for camping on public land in the CDOT lot, they came for him with a warrant for his arrest.

Toups had missed two mailed summonses, sent to an Aspen-area post office box he never visited.

Forest Service law enforcement officer Jill Wick and a Summit County sheriff's deputy found him, naturally, skiing. He grew irate when told he was under arrest.

At a Nov. 20 detention hearing in federal court in Grand Junction, Forest Service special agent Travis Lunders testified that Toups "became actively resistant in the sense that he tensed up."

"Officer Wick described Mr. Toups as shrugging his shoulders, bending his arms, flexing and putting his knuckles together near his stomach, at which time both officers took Mr. Toups to the ground, the snow covered ground, and placed him face-first down," Lunders testified, according to court transcripts.

Toups said he was trying to make a call on his cellphone before he was taken away. He said he was under the impression he had a "gentleman's agreement" to stay near the CDOT utility shed, based upon his camaraderie with CDOT employees.

When officers searched his pockets, according to Lunders' testimony, they found "misdemeanor level paraphernalia and marijuana."

The day after Toups' arrest, Lunders testified that Wick suffered a "post traumatic condition or disorder . . . that caused her heart to enlarge after the arrest." Doctors later told her, Lunders testified, "she did not suffer a heart attack and her arteries were in fact good."

Lunders wrote in his report detailing the arrest: "At no time was she (Wick) struck by Toups, nor did he attempt to kick, punch or strike either officer."

Still, Toups is facing charges that he "did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere with an officer." Add the illegal camping and marijuana charge, and Toups is facing more than two years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines.

Toups is scheduled for a jury trial in Denver District Court this month.

Toups' attorney declined to comment, but Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the Colorado U.S. attorney, said the charges are appropriate, "given his conduct."

U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer is prosecuting the case against Toups. At his November detention hearing, she argued successfully that Toups be held without bail on three misdemeanor counts.

"This defendant has shown he is dangerous, that he has no place to go," she said. "Being that he — all he wants to do is apparently ski and not work and live this alternative lifestyle, makes him a prime candidate for flight, not to mention he has exhibited himself now as a danger to this community, openly hostile to the government."

Calling Toups "hostile" and "dangerous" dismays Toups' friends.

"Charlie has been harassed most of his life, but even though he can be a bit of a curmudgeon, he's a really sweet guy," said Michael Cleveland, who has known Toups for 30 years and paid $1,700 to get his friend's truck out of impoundment. "He's just a ski bum who never grew up."

Toups proudly explains that in all his years of homelessness, he has never collected any public money. In the past three years, he's earned about $20,000, mostly from shoveling snow and moving furniture.

Still, he admits he has struggled to keep jobs.

"I guess I have a personality that conflicts with some tenets of management," he said.

Decades of negotiating (or violating, say the feds) federal, state, county and municipal boundaries and rules has taken its toll on Toups. When he parked near A Basin in 2007, he was at the end of his rope. He needed to be close to his work shoveling — where his boss, Bob Towne, said he never missed a day in two winters. He could no longer keep his truck running to move it daily. And he needed to be close to his beloved ski hill.

"I ski because it is a portal, a gateway to health," he said, noting that in all his years on skis he has never been injured. "But when I moved into that lot, I was desperate. Sure, I may live like a bum, but I do not behave like one."

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sitzmark View Post

Vale is great................just don't poach any lessons.

Yeah right!!  Colorado forest service are evil mofo's!!  They will attack you for "tensing up" and then have you arrested for assaulting a police officer, and put you in jail for 2 years!!!!!  You will think the article is from the onion, but it isnt!

JASON BLEVINS, The Denver Post
GEORGETOWN, Colo. (AP) ― Charlie Toups is Colorado's ultimate ski bum and a relic of a fading era.

Since 1976, the 63-year-old has skied 120 days a season, shoveling snow and doing other odd jobs for a few bucks and skiing every day. What affirms his title as ski bum supreme is the fact that at night he retired to his car, parked close to the lifts.

But now Toups' brawny 6-foot frame is wedged in a jail cell in Georgetown, imprisoned for the past 57 days on misdemeanor federal charges of camping on public land, possessing marijuana and assaulting a Forest Service officer.

He could walk free with time served if he admitted his guilt. But Toups won't do that.

"I've lived this life for 33 years and now all the sudden I'm supposed to admit I'm guilty? I can't do that," he said from jail last week. "I don't know what changed after the Forest Service tolerated me for all these years. I thought we were just respecting each other. Let me ask you, is it snowing?"

Toups' tale is the embodiment of ski "bumdom." Since the 1970s, he has bummed at Mammoth in California, Snowbird in Utah, Oregon's Mount Hood, Aspen Highlands and all the ski areas in Summit County. His home — for nearly a decade — was a Volkswagen Beetle, the passenger seat torn out so he could sleep.

"He had a little tunnel down to it like a snow cave," said Halsted Morris, a longtime Loveland skier.

"He was the real deal"

After a few years at Loveland, where Toups worked in the ski area's kitchen, he moved on to Aspen Highlands, where every morning he stomped steep snow as part of the ski patrol's avalanche mitigation. A few hours bootpacking earned him a day's lift ticket. He haunted the mid-mountain cafeteria, munching food from abandoned trays. He stocked shelves at the local grocery at night.

"He was the epitome of ski bums. He was the real deal," said Mike Tierney, a veteran ski patroller at Highlands. "He was just a totally eccentric individual who was here to ski. We don't see those kinds of ski bums anymore. And that's kind of sad."

Mac Smith, the longtime director of the Highlands patrol, spent a few seasons in the 1970s camping at the base of the ski hill. He remembers Toups with fondness, as a "gentle giant."

"He was a really intelligent person," Smith said. "He just had a different drum beat, and he followed it."

Toups first ran afoul of the Forest Service, which prohibits living on public land, in 2007 when he was back living in Loveland in the ski area parking lot.

So, he fired up his most recent home — a tired Ford, its hood and doors closed with ropes, its bed topped with a dilapidated camper. He rattled over Loveland Pass, towing a trailer full of old skis and a rusting Honda motorcycle. He landed in the Colorado Department of Transportation utility lot on Forest Service land next to Arapahoe Basin ski area.

On Nov. 14, five months after a Forest Service cop issued Toups a ticket for camping on public land in the CDOT lot, they came for him with a warrant for his arrest.

Toups had missed two mailed summonses, sent to an Aspen-area post office box he never visited.

Forest Service law enforcement officer Jill Wick and a Summit County sheriff's deputy found him, naturally, skiing. He grew irate when told he was under arrest.

At a Nov. 20 detention hearing in federal court in Grand Junction, Forest Service special agent Travis Lunders testified that Toups "became actively resistant in the sense that he tensed up."

"Officer Wick described Mr. Toups as shrugging his shoulders, bending his arms, flexing and putting his knuckles together near his stomach, at which time both officers took Mr. Toups to the ground, the snow covered ground, and placed him face-first down," Lunders testified, according to court transcripts.

Toups said he was trying to make a call on his cellphone before he was taken away. He said he was under the impression he had a "gentleman's agreement" to stay near the CDOT utility shed, based upon his camaraderie with CDOT employees.

When officers searched his pockets, according to Lunders' testimony, they found "misdemeanor level paraphernalia and marijuana."

The day after Toups' arrest, Lunders testified that Wick suffered a "post traumatic condition or disorder . . . that caused her heart to enlarge after the arrest." Doctors later told her, Lunders testified, "she did not suffer a heart attack and her arteries were in fact good."

Lunders wrote in his report detailing the arrest: "At no time was she (Wick) struck by Toups, nor did he attempt to kick, punch or strike either officer."

Still, Toups is facing charges that he "did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere with an officer." Add the illegal camping and marijuana charge, and Toups is facing more than two years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines.

Toups is scheduled for a jury trial in Denver District Court this month.

Toups' attorney declined to comment, but Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the Colorado U.S. attorney, said the charges are appropriate, "given his conduct."

U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer is prosecuting the case against Toups. At his November detention hearing, she argued successfully that Toups be held without bail on three misdemeanor counts.

"This defendant has shown he is dangerous, that he has no place to go," she said. "Being that he — all he wants to do is apparently ski and not work and live this alternative lifestyle, makes him a prime candidate for flight, not to mention he has exhibited himself now as a danger to this community, openly hostile to the government."

Calling Toups "hostile" and "dangerous" dismays Toups' friends.

"Charlie has been harassed most of his life, but even though he can be a bit of a curmudgeon, he's a really sweet guy," said Michael Cleveland, who has known Toups for 30 years and paid $1,700 to get his friend's truck out of impoundment. "He's just a ski bum who never grew up."

Toups proudly explains that in all his years of homelessness, he has never collected any public money. In the past three years, he's earned about $20,000, mostly from shoveling snow and moving furniture.

Still, he admits he has struggled to keep jobs.

"I guess I have a personality that conflicts with some tenets of management," he said.

Decades of negotiating (or violating, say the feds) federal, state, county and municipal boundaries and rules has taken its toll on Toups. When he parked near A Basin in 2007, he was at the end of his rope. He needed to be close to his work shoveling — where his boss, Bob Towne, said he never missed a day in two winters. He could no longer keep his truck running to move it daily. And he needed to be close to his beloved ski hill.

"I ski because it is a portal, a gateway to health," he said, noting that in all his years on skis he has never been injured. "But when I moved into that lot, I was desperate. Sure, I may live like a bum, but I do not behave like one."
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