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Uphill travelers who don't buy lift tickets present a quandary to ski areas

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  • Uphill travelers who don't buy lift tickets present a quandary to ski areas

    http://www.rgj.com/viewart/20140115/...dary-ski-areas

    Pretty interesting how all this is developing. Personally I only skin up at resorts when they are on my route to the bc or I want a quick lap before/after the lifts spin.

  • #2
    Yeah, I don't really see the point unless it's access to something outside the ski area. Well, I guess I see the point, but it just doesn't click with me. I'd rather go for a tour or get a quick xc or skate workout. Crested Butte wanted to charge $100 for uphill passes at the beginning of the season but there was huge backlash so they are now free with lift passes and $40 without.

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    • #3
      That rug really tied the room together.
      "Nobody ever got my name right." - Me

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      • #4
        It seems reasonable to not allow uphill traffic during hours of operation, including grooming and snow-making. At the end of the season when the local hill closes, I like to skin up and do some laps, but during the season and especially during business hours, I don't. It just makes no sense to me to skin up a slope while hordes other skiers who paid for lift tickets are skiing down. It seems dangerous. Skinning opens up an almost unending variety of terrain and fresh snow, so the desire to skin up a resort slope in the middle of ski season baffles me.

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        • #5
          Safe, brainless groomed uphill track. For the uninitiated, those alone or out of shear convenience. . Yes I can see why.
          Lift served and proud of it.

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          • #6
            There are some very determined people who skin up at A-Basin. On a warm Sat there are easily 30 plus people heading up. I have pulled in to the lot when it was 10 below and seen a few climbing up in the twilight. Most of them work at the resort or nearby and want to get in a workout before work and can't run or bike outside in that area in the winter. There also seems to be a growing group of people who fit the above description by TheWheel.

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            • #7
              Good points, TheWheel and James. We don't get many people skinning up the local hill here.

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              • #8
                Everyone has their own take on things, but IMO this issue represents more fail on the part of the USDA/USFS than the ski areas. The mission at forest service has become management for recreation since the over-harvesting left them with little asset base. That should mean more than just ramming through every ski area expansion project. If there is a demand for access for touring then why not provide the necessary resources i.e. pit toilets, parking, and a maintained trail.

                In this day and age of declining numbers of participants in lift access skiing the smart resort managers are finding ways to accommodate uphill travel. Maybe these folks don't buy a lift ticket, but that doesn't mean they might not buy a coffee, sandwich, or souvenir - not to mention a condo or house one day. It's really not that difficult to designate a run, groom it first, and sign it.

                I can understand why it seems weird to climb the local ski hill and never saw the attraction until I was working at an area. The shortest days of winter necessitated I make a couple of laps at the area to get any outdoor exercise. It was nice to be working at a resort with a plan. Thanks to Copper Mountain for realizing the need to accommodate uphill travelers.

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                • #9
                  Good points, Matt; convenience is obvious, and the availability of cushy amenities shouldn't be overlooked. If true BC doesn't give you enough of the down turns, this would certainly help. The biggest attraction is access to the groomed/maintained slopes when most people aren't on them. 10 years ago, during my "purist" phase, I would have scoffed rudely at this, but I'm much more understanding now!

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                  • #10
                    Right now the best backcountry skiing is in-bounds at Sugar Bowl. Okay, maybe that's a stretch as I have heard of people still harvesting powder turns as recently as this week, but those are not areas that are a quick roadside attraction and require a bit of extra effort to get to and from on a dry or unskiable trail. Thus, for convenience I'm totally psyched at what Sugar Bowl has to offer. It's a short drive from home, parking is reliable, I can put my skins on and skin within two feet of the car door, and since Sugar Bowl is making snow on a few dedicated groomer runs I can skin up and intersect with a run that I'm more or less guaranteed to not hit rocks on the way back down, saving both knees and skis. No, it's not adventurous, but it's the best work out I know (skinning) and the cruise back down, if not powderific is at least safe which is more than I can say about Tahoe backcountry conditions right now.

                    ain't no turn like tele!

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                    • #11
                      There is a cost involved in maintaining groomed slopes, so why should it be free? A small fee is reasonable, if ya don't like it then go elsewhere.

                      I'd like to see dedicated skin tracks, this would make it more interesting and safer.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dostie View Post
                        Right now the best backcountry skiing is in-bounds at Sugar Bowl. Okay, maybe that's a stretch as I have heard of people still harvesting powder turns as recently as this week, but those are not areas that are a quick roadside attraction and require a bit of extra effort to get to and from on a dry or unskiable trail. Thus, for convenience I'm totally psyched at what Sugar Bowl has to offer. It's a short drive from home, parking is reliable, I can put my skins on and skin within two feet of the car door, and since Sugar Bowl is making snow on a few dedicated groomer runs I can skin up and intersect with a run that I'm more or less guaranteed to not hit rocks on the way back down, saving both knees and skis. No, it's not adventurous, but it's the best work out I know (skinning) and the cruise back down, if not powderific is at least safe which is more than I can say about Tahoe backcountry conditions right now.
                        Yep. I made use of my uphill pass at the beginning of last week when we were up over New Year's. Skinned under the Judah Chair, traversed, skied down the well-covered groomer off the Jerome Hill Chair. Nice exercise when it's as thin as it is.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by James View Post
                          There are some very determined people who skin up at A-Basin. On a warm Sat there are easily 30 plus people heading up. I have pulled in to the lot when it was 10 below and seen a few climbing up in the twilight. Most of them work at the resort or nearby and want to get in a workout before work and can't run or bike outside in that area in the winter. There also seems to be a growing group of people who fit the above description by TheWheel.
                          Call me crazy, but I go up after work from Boulder just to get in a good skin-up. Was there tonight - it was butt-cold and windy but we had fun - my dogs love it! As Dotsie implied, the best workout for skinning is skinning. A-Basin has a sensible uphill policy - they require a free uphill pass to get you to sign a waiver, post on their website whether uphill access is open or closed, have one route open to midway during operating hours and access to all open trails before/after hours. Don't be surprised if you run into COO Al Henceroth - he's a frequent skinner.
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                          • #14
                            It is great that skiers want to get out and skin up the processed cheese wiz at the ski areas, but when the areas are operating those skinners are a hazard and during the off hours they should pay for their use of trails that cost many thousands if dollars per week to groom. It most definitely is the rage and cool in some circles...

                            ... make a good community skin track somewhere else and be done with skiing processed slopes.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Todd Eastman View Post
                              It is great that skiers want to get out and skin up the processed cheese wiz at the ski areas, but when the areas are operating those skinners are a hazard and during the off hours they should pay for their use of trails that cost many thousands if dollars per week to groom. It most definitely is the rage and cool in some circles...

                              ... make a good community skin track somewhere else and be done with skiing processed slopes.
                              Well put. I get a kick out of a lot of local skiers who will skin up and ski down the groomers here, they never venture outside the ropes but still refer to themselves as backcountry skiers.

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