By Jim Stanford on November 15, 2012
Earlier this week the Denver Post reported about the growing popularity of uphill travel at ski resorts. Skinning has become such a part of mountain-town life that most Colorado resorts have adopted policies tolerating or even encouraging it.
Aspen Skiing Co., for instance, has climbing routes and policies for its four mountains. The Post reports:
Two years ago, uphill skiing was a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” with the few skinning skiers keeping a low profile as they climbed in the dark. Today, resort chieftains such as Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Tim and Ethan Mueller and Breckenridge’s Pat Campbell are regulars among their hill’s climbing cadre.
And the no-policy uphill approach is becoming a thing of the past. Nearly every resort has recently tweaked its uphill travel rules to address things like dog poop, hours, parking, closures, reflective outerwear and lights.
Naturally, skiers might wonder whether Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will catch up with the trend, especially given the brouhaha following the arrest of Roland Fleck in 2011. The hard-headed Fleck, then 78, insisted on skinning up JHMR to watch his daughter compete in a ski race, only to be sledded down in cuffs.
Snow King has an uphill policy to help keep skinners and their pooches out of harm’s way. Uphill travel at the King has long been a cherished pastime.
Given the terrain and traffic at JHMR, it could be difficult to designate an uphill route, especially to the summit. Perhaps Apres Vous would be suitable. And maybe one day uphill skinning will become a marketing point for Snow King.
Update: JHMR has not reconsidered its stance. Safety concerns and operational logistics, including avalanche hazard reduction, make uphill travel more or less a nonstarter, spokeswoman Anna Cole said.