Steamboat Resort sets routes for uphill skiers, discourages dogs | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Resort sets routes for uphill skiers, discourages dogs

Paxton and Susie Jones, of Steamboat Springs, ski past Thunderhead on their way to Four Points Lodge. Steamboat Resort recently added recommended routes to its uphill access policy. (Photo by Tom Ross)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With an increase in the popularity of skiers bypassing the gondola and skinning to the top of the ski area, Steamboat Resort has instituted new rules for uphill access.

"The biggest change is the recommended routes during operating hours," ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said.

The ski area also is discouraging people from bringing their dogs on their uphill excursions. Dogs who do join their owners should wear reflective material and be on a leash or under voice command. Dogs are only allowed outside operating hours.

Weigh in

Do you follow Steamboat Resort's recommended uphill access routes?

"Dogs can be skittish around machinery and skiers and snowboarders they don't know," Kasten said. "We're trying to make sure it's safe for the users and pets, as well."

Again this year, those wanting to skin up the mountain will be required to sign a waiver at the Welcome Center and wear an armband issued by the resort. Kasten said they are going to be changing the color of the armbands each year to ensure users have read the most recent policies.

While the ski area is running its lifts, the resort is asking uphill users to follow the recommended routes:

  • Lower mountain:
    • See Me or Vogue to Jess' Cut-Off to Heavenly Daze
    • Right-O-Way to Giggle Gulch, Short Cut or Yoo Hoo, then Main Drag or Boulevard to Heavenly Daze
    • Right-O-Way to Vagabond or BC Skiway to So What to Why Not
  • Upper mountain:
    • Rainbow saddle to Rainbow to Calf Roper to Buddy's Run
    • Thunderhead to Arc to Duster to High Noon

The All Out trail utilized by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is always off limits.

Skinning is not allowed on trails used for night skiing beginning at 5:30 p.m. Those trails are Stampede, Vogue, See Me, All Out, Sitz, Sitzback and Jess' Cut-Off.

A growing sport

Due to the rise in popularity, many Colorado ski areas have been looking at how they accommodate skiers who want to earn their turns and burn some calories while climbing up the mountains.

"Everybody is trying to be responsive to everyone that is interested in doing that," Colorado Ski Country USA spokesman Chris Linsmayer said.

He said some resorts do not allow uphill access and some resorts charge a fee. Others only allow it before and after operating hours.

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"What Steamboat is going to do is not uncommon across the state," Linsmayer said. "It's a combination of public safety and staffing needs and trying to make it work for the resort and the general public."

Ski areas like those operated by Aspen Skiing Co. have invested in public education campaigns.

The Aspen Times recently reported that Aspen officials held a community meeting to emphasize the company will continue to allow uphill skiing but are urging self-policing and safety.

"One incident and things can change drastically,” Aspen Vice President of Mountain Operations Katie Ertl said in the story. "We don’t want a reason to shut anything down.”

Aspen officials said the biggest dangers for uphill skiers involve high-voltage electrical wires powering the snowmaking guns, hoses, snowcats and other machinery, especially when winches are being used.

They also stressed the importance of using lights at night.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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