Ball Mountain

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Total Zones


Beacon Guidebooks

Ball Mountain Overview

When we published the first edition of Light Tours in 2017, I had mixed feelings about the concept: a selection of low-angled, avalanche-safe routes. I wondered how it might be received. Considering what I saw in ski movies and social media, did everyone ski nothing but avalanche slopes? Not so. As it turned out, an increasing number of muscle-powered skiers have little interest in confronting high-consequence avalanche terrain, or for that matter the sheer faces of big mountains. Consequently, we present the second edition of this guidebook—again focusing on the mellow side of ski touring, which we define as routes with enough pitch for making turns, but generally of low enough angle to obviate most avalanche danger. It’s important to point out here, though, that just about any skiable slope can slide, given the right conditions. In other words, the routes we’ve detailed may reduce your exposure, but they do not eliminate it. Our second-edition improvements are many. We’ve doubled the number of routes and removed the resort uphills that proved difficult to detail because of closures or ever-shifting resort policies. Furthermore, we improved our formatting: it’s simpler—just the information you need. As for the proverbial “how to use this book,” a few tips for those of you new to the game: Find the perfect log, sit down, and eat a leisurely lunch; take your kids along; convince a partner to try something new; concentrate on the exercise and fresh air (not the adrenaline); be proud you’ve chosen a sustainable style of ski touring you can enjoy for decades.

Zones Covered

Ball Mountain
ATES Level
General Aspect
Sweeping low-angle peaks, incredible views, and abandoned mines make Ball Mountain a classic Leadville tour. It’s a short drive from the town of Leadville to the trailhead, or you can extend your tour by starting in town on the extensive “Mineral Belt Trail,” a circuitous network of groomed nordic trails. Advanced route-finding and avalanche terrain knowledge skills can help you lengthen this tour up and along the ridge connecting East Ball Mountain and West Dyer Mountain, thus making a large loop around South Evans Gulch.
  • Ball Mountain Approach
  • West Bowl
  • East Ridge
  • Ball Mountain Exit