Vail, Beaver Creek encourage uphill traffic etiquette |

Vail, Beaver Creek encourage uphill traffic etiquette

Riva Ridge is stormed by skiers and snowboarders skinning their way to soft turns and fresh lines at Vail Mountain on Nov. 17. Improvements in ski gear and technology have made uphill travel more appealing.
Townsend Bessent | |


During Daytime Operations

• Call the trails hotline.

• Stay towards the side of the trail.

• Position yourself so that you are visible from above.

• Wear brightly colored clothing.

• Dogs are not allowed.

• Obey all pertinent signage.

• Avoid all areas where machinery is operating.

During Nighttime Operations

• Call the trails hotline.

• Abide by all of the above-described recommendations.

• Wear reflective materials.

• Carry a light.

• Avoid all areas where machinery is operating.

• Keep dogs on a leash

• Be aware that ski area emergency services are not available.

EAGLE COUNTY — Continual improvements in technology have made uphill travel at local resorts more accessible and appealing to skiers and snowboarders.

With the increased enthusiasm, however, resorts and local businesses are reminding people traveling uphill at Vail and Beaver Creek to know the rules, policies and where to access up-to-date information.

With companies such as Scarpa, Dynafit and Black Diamond focusing on equipment that is both functional on the skin up and the ride down, more and more people are opting to earn their turns at resorts rather than riding the chairlifts.

“There’s definitely been a huge upswing in it,” said Sean Glackin, owner of Alpine Quest Sports in Edwards. “Not only locally, but nationwide. So we’re seeing people getting into it and coming to rent and buy gear on a daily basis. There’s a lot of new faces getting into that uphill side of skiing.”


Uphill access is available at Vail and Beaver Creek both day and night. Before heading to Vail or Beaver Creek with intentions of traveling uphill, resort officials along with the U.S. Forest Service remind people of proper uphill etiquette:

• Call the resort hotline (Vail: 970-754-3049; Beaver Creek: 970-754-5907). Information provided by the hotline numbers is informative, helpful and updated every afternoon.

• Stay to the side of the trail.

• Position yourself so you are visible from skiers and snowboarders above.

• Wear bright clothing.

• Dogs are not allowed during the daytime. At night, dogs must be on a leash.

• Obey all signage.

• Avoid areas with machinery operating.

• At night, wear reflective material, carry a light and be aware that ski emergency services are not available.

The trails hotline numbers include details such as which trails are navigable, which are not open to travel and much more.

In addition to the helpful hotlines, both Vail and Beaver Creek have information on their websites for people traveling uphill. These sites include information about ski safety, etiquette, backcountry, helmets, terrain and more.

The websites and hotlines are two resources that the resorts encourage guests and community members to use regularly.


Local Chris Robinson, 35, has been skinning since he was about 14 years old, he said. Robinson has seen the progression in technology from heavy gear to equipment that is “almost cheating” now.

“It’s come a long way. It‘s just so much lighter and so much safer,” he said. “You can go faster up the hill and the skins are better and last longer.”

With two children, Robinson heads to Beaver Creek most nights around 8 p.m., after the kids are in bed and asleep. It’s a peaceful way to end the day.

“It’s more rewarding. You earn your turns,” he said. “A lot of times the mountain is just empty. It’s like you have the whole place to yourself, even though it’s gotten more popular. Even at 8 p.m., it’s amazing how many people you see showing up.”

A seasoned uphill traveler like Robinson has been doing just what the resorts and Forest Service have been asking for years.

“I always call the hotline and find out where the snowcats are working and what they’re doing, and I do my best to avoid them,” he said. “I don’t like when people get in my way when I work, so I try to respect that as much as possible.”

Uphill traffic at Vail and Beaver Creek resorts is growing, and a little preparation for safety will enhance the experience.

“It’s the best,” Robinson said. “I do it mostly because it makes me feel like I’m truly out in the wilderness even though I’m on a public run.”

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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