Skiers enjoying the new uphill policy at Mammoth Mountain.

Backcountry skiing is booming, and while most backcountry skiers are in it for powder turns and backcountry adventure, many of us have found another use for our skins and free-pivot bindings: skinning uphill at the local resort. Uphill travel at ski resorts is growing in popularity as more people add backcountry ski gear to their winter quiver. It’s a great way to get a workout, either in conjunction with a day or riding the lifts, or to start or cap off a day of other activities. Added benefits include not having to break your own trail and not having to worry as much about avalanche danger! And as more uphill skiers express interest in hitting the groomers, resorts are responding by creating or modifying guidelines to allow uphill travel to occur safely in conjunction with other resort activities.

What you need to know about uphill travel at ski resorts

Uphill travel is not allowed at every resort. Of the 400+ ski resorts currently operating in the US, we are aware of 90 that have official uphill travel policies. Policies vary, but many share a few common elements:

  • Uphill pass required
  • Uphill travel restricted to designated routes and uphill skiers must descend on designated routes
  • Uphill travel prohibited or restricted during resort operating hours
  • Uphill travel subject to change (open or not) based on conditions – it is the uphill skier’s responsibility to ensure the resort is open for uphill travel
  • Uphill travelers must abide by the skier’s responsibility code and the resort is not responsible/liable for their safety
  • No dogs

Uphill skiers should wear bright, reflective, clothing and stay well out of the way of machinery and other ski area equipment. Before you go, check the resort’s website to confirm that uphill travel is allowed and review their policy.

Where is Uphilling Allowed?

Our friends at Backcountry Magazine have compiled an Uphill Travel Guide, listing published uphill travel policies as of January 1, 2018. Other resorts like Mammoth Mountain have established uphill policies more recently. Check with your resort today!