Edward L. Berthoud, an engineer and surveyor in Golden, blazed an 1861 toll road with mountain man Jim Bridger over this 11,307-foot pass. Their dirt road to Hot Sulphur Springs became a stage road in 1874 and the first paved road over the Continental Divide when U.S. 40 was completed in 1938. The current two-lane highway offers beautiful views plus the excitement of hairpin curves and occasional avalanches and rock slides. The Berthoud Pass Inn (1950), U.S. 40 atop Berthoud Pass, is a homely complex that replaced earlier structures of more appealing design, beginning with the first Berthoud Pass Inn, which L. D. C. Gaskill opened in 1876 as a stage stop. Berthoud Pass Ski Area, atop the pass, boasted Colorado's first rope tow in 1937, followed by the first double-seat chair lift. During the 1940s Berthoud attracted a third of Colorado's skiers but has since been dwarfed by nearby Winter Park and other newer, much larger areas.
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