Aspen to charge for uphill skiing

26th August 2021, by Abi Butcher

Crowds of skiers skin up thr four mountains of Aspen-Snowmass every morning

Crowds of skiers skin up thr four mountains of Aspen-Snowmass every morning

Aspen Skiing Co will this winter charge skiers who ski tour – or skin up – the four mountains of Aspen-Snowmass this winter and skiers will be required to wear armbands to show they have paid.

It’s known as “uphilling” in the US, and has always been free in Aspen where hordes of skiers skin up the mountains early each morning, or after work, instead of hitting the gym.

But with increasing numbers of skiers taking to the slopes for their uphill exercise, SkiCo has launched an Uphill Pass costing US$69 for the 2021-22 ski season. Of that fee, $10 will go directly to Mountain Rescue Aspen, and passholders will be given an armband to wear while “uphilling”.

Announcing the change, SkiCo said: “As the popularity of earning your turns and uphill travel has increased significantly across our mountains, so has the need to manage uphill access. In order to facilitate safety, operational management and better communication, we will be requiring an Uphill Pass for on-resort uphill access during the 2021-22 season.”

Aspen Ski Co will host a virtual event on 14 October to discuss the new policy.

Katie Ertl, senior vice president of mountain operations, said in a statement: “While we maintain one of the most welcoming uphill policies in the country, the recent uptick in volume across our mountains dictates that we implement the new pass system to better manage uphill access.

“This system will allow us to have better visibility, manage impacts, dedicate staff and resources and better educate and communicate to uphill users to increase safety, access and infrastructure.”

Uphill skiing has long been a trend in the US, and Europe has swiftly followed suit so we wonder whether charges will be imposed on skiers using dedicated ski touring routes in European ski resorts? Time will tell.

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