‘Uphilling’ Takes Hold At U.S. Mountains

‘Uphilling’ Takes Hold At U.S. Mountains

Uphiller nears summit of Sunlight (photo Sunlight Mountain Resort)

Be it to stay fit, save money or get some quiet time in the out-of-doors, ”uphill skiing” has become a staple at many U.S. resorts – requiring mountain managers to adopt rules for the activity.

Most resorts require “uphillers” to check in before heading up, and some resorts charge a modest fee. Some restrict the activity to the non-operating hours -- like sunrise to 9 a.m. at Terry Peaks in South Dakota -- while others designate specific routes or limit climbing to the sides of trails during the day. All warn to give snowmaking equipment wide berths.

An evening stroll up Arapahoe Basin

Nighttime uphilling with headlamps has become popular, as have moonlight trips like the monthly $30 trip at Crested Butte that rewards all with a party at the top of the climb. A few mountains still prohibit the activity, and all note that ski patrol isn’t available during off-hours.

Uphill race kicks off at Summit at Snoqualmie

There are organized “races,” like at the Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington. 

Recently at Ski Santa Fe, an “uphiller” told SnoCountry.com that even though he had a season ticket, he was up there “for the exercise.” Later, a mother with an infant on her back was seen striding straight up under the lift.

At Sunlight in Colorado, the popularity of uphilling during operating hours at neighbor Aspen-Snowmass caught Sunlight's eye enough so that they shared each others' policies.

"Aspen Snowmass reached out to us last season once they saw the press we were getting on our uphill usage,” Sunlight’s Troy Hawks told us. “They openly shared their uphill travel policy, inviting us to use it in updating our own language. Safety is one area that the ski industry collaborates very well on.”

At Pico Mountain in Vermont -- known by locals as “Hiko” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the resort is closed – uphillers must buy a $20 season pass (or free with a regular pass at Killington or Pico), and patrol determines routes up the mountain on a daily basis. 

For other resort policies, click here

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