Buttermilk Resort operators are not allowed to charge an entrance fee simply for access to the national forest, which are public lands. However, they are allowed to charge a fee for services.

Aspen Skiing Co. acted within its rights as a special use permit holder on national forest to implement a new fee for uphillers, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Roger Poirier, recreation staff officer for the White River National Forest, said ski area operators are required to file an annual operating plan. Skico’s plan for 2021-22 proposed the uphill pass fee of $69. It was reviewed and approved by the White River staff.

Resort operators are not allowed to charge an entrance fee simply for access to the national forest, which are public lands, Poirier said. However, they are allowed to charge a fee for services, he said.

People skinning, snowshoeing or hiking uphill during winters have access to parking, bathrooms, groomed slopes, avalanche control and ski patrol aid. “That’s just naming a few,” Poirier said.

He said the explosion in popularity of uphilling in recent years shows the services are in demand.

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