Inbounds Uphill Traffic

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Going up, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana

Along with the bourgeoning sport of alpine touring, many skiers and snowboarders are skinning and snowshoeing inbounds these days, requiring mountain resorts to figure out how to deal with uphill traffic. Although you may hear grumbling on both sides, know that resorts need to direct hikers safely away from avalanche control work, snowcat grooming operations, and scores of downhillers.

Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana has an excellent solution I came upon when out on a pre-dawn climb yesterday:  a designated, clearly-marked, uphill traffic route complete with an explanation of the policy in the base area.

The beta on inbounds climbing

My home peak, Mount Hood Meadows, directs skinners and snowshoers to two out of bounds routes and also posts avalanche control advisory information on the internet for a popular sidecountry access route. Many resorts have put the kibosh on inbounds skinning altogether for safety.

Why go up inside the ropelines? To test new gear in the relative safety of the resort, get some exercise, access the sidecountry, or simply try something new.

If in doubt of the uphill traffic policy, check in with ski patrol. 

Follow the rules and be safe.

–Christopher Van Tilburg, MD

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