Free gig is up for uphillers on Aspen Skiing Co.’s four ski areas in 2021-22 |

Free gig is up for uphillers on Aspen Skiing Co.’s four ski areas in 2021-22

Skico will charge $69 for an uphill season pass; it’s included in Premier Pass

Three friends skin up Tiehack before opening day of Buttermilk in Aspen on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The gig is up for going skinning, snowshoeing or walking uphill for free at Aspen Skiing Co.’s four ski areas.

Skico announced Monday that it will charge a $69 fee for an uphill pass for the 2021-22 season.

“An Uphill Pass, no matter how many days you use it, will be $69, with $10 of this fee going directly to our local search and rescue organization, Mountain Rescue Aspen,” Skico’s website reads. “The Uphill Pass is included at no charge to all Premier Passholders; they simply need to opt-in when they purchase their pass.”

People who purchase the Uphill Pass will receive an armband with a photo Aspen card that must be visible on a sleeve when on the four ski areas.

The goal of the pass is increased education, safety and to “reduce the friction between downhill and uphill guests on the mountain,” according to Skico.

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The company was known before now as having one of the most liberal uphilling policies in the ski industry. Previously, people could go uphill for free, though certain rules were applied. There are designated routes at each of the four ski areas. Uphillers must be at the top of Aspen Mountain by 9 a.m. The new uphill pass will not entitle buyers to riding lifts.

“We have seen a large uptick in the volume of uphill traffic and use of our slopes in the past few years so it is time to put attention to managing the process for all guests,” Skico wrote on its website. “There are inherent costs involved in this, including signage, ski patrol workload, route maintenance, as well as impacts on parking and facilities. A structured uphill program with pass will provide a means to educate all guests to rules, communicate closures when they occur, inform conditions, routes, terrain management, special programs and events.”

Skico said it implemented its fee with the blessing of the U.S. Forest Service. National forest lands are used at Skico’s four mountains. Skico has a special-use permit to operate the ski areas.

Skico also announced it will only allow uphilling between 5 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. from Nov. 1 through April 30.

“There will be periodic on mountain uphill enforcement sessions as well as on-going Patrol, Guest Services, and Mountain Ops spot checks,” the website said. “Our hope is that people will respect this system and self-regulate their behavior.”

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