Friday, November 16, 2012

Uphill Access Policy

Uphill access by means of skinning, snowshoeing and hiking has gained popularity at Arapahoe Basin in recent years. The ski area welcomes and supports individuals seeking to exercise and enjoy the beautiful, mountain setting. With increased use, however, many questions have risen about how to best manage and handle uphill access. Last spring A-Basin staff held a public open meeting and an employee meeting seeking feedback on uphill travel. Additionally, 372 participants completed an online survey regarding uphill access at Arapahoe Basin. As a result of this feedback, A-Basin modified its Uphill Access Policy in two ways:

1) There is a need to increase communication between uphill users and A-Basin staff about uphill access.  As a result, all uphill users, whether travelling while the ski area is open or closed, are required to obtain a FREE Uphill Access Pass at the Season Pass Office.  While obtaining the pass may seem like a pain, this is really an effort to help users and staff communicate better in regards to uphill access.

2) During operational hours, uphill access is restricted to the eastern edge of High Noon between the Base Area and Black Mountain Lodge. Access above Black Mountain Lodge is prohibited during operational hours.  With the increase in uphill use and the narrow travel corridors and notable terrain transitions, we felt it was no longer appropriate to mix both uphill and downhill use above mid-mountain.
Please note that right now (very early season) uphill access will not be allowed during operational hours until additional terrain is available.
The complete Uphill Access Policy can be found on the "Runs Open" page of our website.

Many of us know what a really cool experience travelling uphill at A-Basin can be.  My wife, Kay, and I regularly go for an afternoon/evening spin once the lifts close.  With these simple modifications of the Uphill Access Policy and a cooperative spirit between users and employees, I am hopeful we can preserve this experience for a very long time.


The Water Guy said...

Thanks Al. I'm looking forward to getting a few skins in this season.

Scott said...

It's great that the Basin is embracing and continuing to support the users wishing to go both ways... Uphill and Down. Nice to see a clear and concise policy, and it is further appreciated that space is made available to use during operating hours. Thanks!!

Ryan C said...

Thanks for the update, Al. I didn't realize you made the changes to access above Black Mountain Lodge. I agree that it can get a bit chaotic up there going uphill, but certainly there's a route to be found to allow safe access, don't you think? Will there be any future consideration for uphill access to the upper mountain? thanks, Ryan

Ryan C said...

Thanks for the update, Al. I didn't realize that you made changes to access above Black Mountain Lodge. Surely there's a safe uphill route to be found up there, don't you think? Will you be considering any access to the upper mountain in the future? Thanks, Ryan

Unknown said...

I have mixed feelings on this, but perhaps I don't have all of the facts.

Isn't uphill access allowed for anybody because it's within a National Forest?

I'm sort of perplexed about the decision to not allow uphill past Black Mountain Lodge. I like climbing mountains, and I have plans to traverse from Loveland Pass, to Grizzly Peak, to Black Mountain, to Lenawee Peak. Isn't that sort of affected by this?

Surely there has to be a route people can skin/shoe/wallow up past Black Mountain Lodge?

Anonymous said...

"Access above Black Mountain Lodge is prohibited during operational hours."

Key words in bold. Read the policy more carefully. This only makes sense- no reason to put yourself and others in danger during the ski day. To reach the top simply go early or late.

James w said...

I am in agreement with the comment above. I think this policy is for AB to try and force everyone to buy a pass. It's not like there are hundreds of people or even ten people doing this on a daily basis. Why not restrict a person to x times per season? Loveland does not have this highly restrictive policy. Sounds like you guys do not really like to have this activity at your mountain and any statement about safety is utter hogwash.

James Weckbaugh.
Mountaineer and back country skiing enthusiast

Alan Henceroth - COO and Vice President said...

A few quick comments on uphill access:

1. Most of The Basin is on public land. That does not mean that there is a free for all up there. We still need to operate the ski area under all the standards, rules, laws, etc. that apply to ski areas.

2. The restriction above Black Mountain Lodge applies to operating hours only. We looked at this one long and hard and did not like any of the options above there.

3. James W - we should talk on the phone. I am not sure you understand any of what we are trying to do. There is no intent to charge for this. You can go as many times as you like. Why would we create this policy, hold the new randonee series, and host The Grind if we were against uphill travel? Call me (970) 513-5722.

4. Lastly, the intent of the Uphill Access Pass is to improve communication between The Basin and uphill users. We are asking for 5-10 minutes of your time to improve communication.


Anonymous said...

How does one obtain an uphill pass in the wee hours of the morning? Is the pass office open at 6am?

Anonymous said...

Hey james, you ever watch people going up Len face or humbug with downhill traffic on the hill. It's a Darwin thing

Alan Henceroth - COO and Vice President said...

The Season Pass Office opens at 8:00 on weekends and 8:30 on weedkays. If you cannot make it there during those hours, contact me directly and we can figure out how to get you a pass.

Peter C said...

Has there been a pass solution implemented for those of us who want to skin and ride early morning, before the pass office opens? I mean a more viable and consistent process than "call Al every time?"

I appreciate the help, Al, but that's not really a workable process for allowing after-hours access.

If it's communication you're after, why not a sign in sheet like most trailheads - name, intended route, time of departure, etc.