Teller County

Skiing Pikes Peak: How common is it?

Skiing Pikes Peak

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. - Following Sunday's tragic ski accident where a Colorado Springs teacher died on Pikes Peak, we're looking into the history of skiing America's Mountain.

Skiing a fourteener is no easy task, unless you're Michael Steinman.

"I've skied all of them," he said.

Steinman is from Fountain and has skied all 53 fourteeners. He knows the Little Italy run on Pikes Peak very well.

"Little Italy is about 30, 35 degrees, so it's kind of like a very steep double diamond. It has a lot of vertical slope," he said.

It's the same area where Colorado Springs Middle school teacher Rachel Dewey crashed and died.

RELATED: Middle school teacher dies in Skiing accident on Pikes Peak

Steinman himself has fallen there too but luckily, he wasn't seriously hurt. However, accidents on that run are common because of the steep terrain.

"I've heard (of) a lot of people hitting their heads on the rocks coming down Little Italy," said Rick Uhl, owner of The Ski Shop.

Uhl says people come into his store often asking about skiing Pikes Peak.

"If you're going to go ski Pikes Peak, make sure you're a truly expert level skier. You're going to experience any and every condition you can possibly experience, from ice to slush to a blizzard," Uhl said.

Another challenge is getting to the top of the runs. There are six different distinguished runs on the north side of Pikes Peak that most people have to hike up.

"You take a short hike across the ridge and go right to the top of Little Italy, and you can pretty much ski right to the road," Steinman said.

There used to be a ski area on Pikes Peak years ago.

"Back in the 40s there was an actual established ski area up there that closed. Now a lot of people ski the area around Devil's Playground to Glen Cove which is about 12,000 feet elevation," said Al Schlafli, a seasonal park ranger.

Schlafli said on average, at least 100 people ski Pikes Peak a month.

"When the snow is good up there, definitely on the weekends you can see 30 to 40 people skiing that area," Schlafli said.

Another reminder: "There's no ski patrol, and help could be a day away," Steinman said.

Sunday's accident was the third ski-related fatality ever recorded on Pikes Peak, but countless people have been injured.

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