What's in this Area?
Cristo is a fairly wide snow gully, and is not particularly technical to ski. That said, it is steep enough to demand advanced ski abilities.
Cristo is rated D8 or D9 depending on snow conditions. For information on the D rating system, see here: http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/ratings/ski-board-d-rating-system.html
In good snow conditions, Cristo can be skied right off the summit. Depending on snowpack, there may or may not be a few rocky patches to navigate. The gully has a few rollovers, the steepest reaching 40-45 degrees. The slope has a double fall-line, and is generally a bit mellower if you stay towards the skier's right side. While not a true no-fall zone, the double fall-line nature also means that a sliding fall in the couloir could be dangerous.
Cristo Couloir is a very large avalanche path and has claimed it's share of victims. As such, this route is recommended as a spring descent in times of good stability only. Also, whether you're driving or skinning up Blue Lakes Road, be aware that several major avalanche paths threaten the road near the dam.[more]
Buckeye Peak is best accessed via the Buckeye Gulch Trailhead on Colorado 91. The climb is a relatively mellow 3 mile skin, with some flat sections close to 11,200'. Once you pass treeline you will see a ridge to the west, which makes a great spot for quick laps, with easy access. If you continue along the trail, (towards the Sangree Froelicher Hut) you will see Buckeye peak to the north. From the summit of Buckeye, ski the bowl that descends down to the east for a really fun, slightly more technical run. There is a lot of terrain up there to choose from, and you also have the choice of heading west towards CO 24 and Ski Cooper Mountain. Reserve a night or two at the 10th mountain hut (Sangree Froelicher Hut) to make a multiple day trip out of this area.
How to Get There
Take CO 91 south from the Copper Mtn exit on I-70. The Buckeye Gulch Trailhead is about 5 miles north of Leadville, CO. Parking for the trailhead is between milemarker 4 and 5, on the north side of the highway, and is denoted with a public parking sign.