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Question about climbing

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am contemplating purchasing skins for this season but I am trepidatious about going into the backcountry with the little knowledge that I have. So, if I were to buy, I would use them primarily at a lift-operated mountain. Has anyone done this before? I have seen one man climbing up the middle of a run, while I was coming down, which was rather strange I will admit. What's the deal, do mountains generally allow this, do you still have to purchase a ticket even though you do not ride the lifts?
Your answers, thoughts, comments are appreciated.
post #2 of 7
Don't know a whole lot but I do know you only buy a ticket if you're gonna ride the lift. Half the time resorts don't own the land they're on. All they own is the chair. No ride, no pay.
post #3 of 7
Not true, some areas can and will prohibit uphill traffic while operating. Best to either act ignorant and leave if asked or ask in advance. When you get to Mammouth I bet you will be able to find some folkjs in the know of places with little danger that you can skin up and ski.
post #4 of 7
A ski area may not own the land that you ski on, but they do have a permit/lease to operate their trail maintenance, lifts, food and beverage, etc. So, the ski operator has a responsibility to establish protocol. This may include you needing to buy access to the mountain's trails even if you don't use their lift access.

Having said that, I think in most cases you wouldn't be required to purchase anything to access the mountain with snowshoes and skins.
post #5 of 7
Lot's of people skin, snowshoe, run and skate up Aspen Mountain. If your not past
chair three at 9:15am you have to turn around. Down loading on the Gondola is free.
Buttermilk you can hike all day and lots do.
Not too sure about Highlands or Snowmass, but I think you can hike both. Pouching the lifts would be frowned upon.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I'm not trying to poach anybody's lifts here, just want to explore, safely, and get some free snow.
I will pay if they make a deal out of it, otherwise I'm minding my own business.
So next question then... anybody in the Seattle area know of not potentially dangerous in bounds/barely out of bounds terrain to speak of? Stevens, Snowqualmie, Crystal?
Once again thanks ahead of time, I appreciate any response.
post #7 of 7

You've received a variety of answers here. I'll kind of throw in a couple more ideas.

On the question of why skin up *inside* an area, I can think of a couple of reasons. If you're not skiing with a partner, you're safer in-area than backcountry. Also, if you're just learning skinning and the gear, the question of snow safety is much less of an issue if you're in-area. You also may not yet have the transceiver/probe/training you need to go backcountry.

As far as skinning up a ski area, the policy seems to vary with the area. Some will allow it, others absolutely will not, some will kind of look the other way. If you do hike up in-area, be very intelligent about the route you choose. Stay away from congested areas and also make sure you're in plain sight from above at all times (don't hike below dropoffs and cat tracks). If the patrol "invites" you to leave, do so politely and quickly.

From a practical standpoint, once you've done the shakedown on the gear, you're going to decide that hiking up within a ski area's boundaries is nowhere near as much fun as going backcountry. Ask around at local shops for some backcountry awareness classes. Get the safety training and gear and find some partners. The skiing is great and you'll appreciate those turns a lot more.

Have fun.

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