8 Great Resorts for Uphill Skiing

    More resorts are allowing skiers to earn their turns in the frontcountry. Here's a list of where to start. Plus a gear breakdown for uphill skiing.

    uphill skiing skins
    Uphill at Crested Butte. Photo by Alex Gautier.

    Uphill skiing is on the rise. And more and more Colorado resorts — including these — are allowing daytime uphill access. Others allow uphilling before and after lift hours. Policies, pass and route requirements vary, so always check before you go.

    Arapahoe Basin
    The Legend has long allowed all-day uphill skiing, dependent on daily conditions.

    Aspen
    All four areas allow uphilling, Snowmass and Buttermilk during operational hours.

    Crested Butte
    Skin to the Umbrella Bar for monthly Full Moon Parties. Or get competitive in the free, weekly gO SkiMo Race Series.

    Eldora
    Midweek daytime uphill access is open this year, along with Morning Cardio Sessions and the Nighthawks Race Series.

    Loveland
    Follow two designated routes, one topping out at 12,700 feet.

    Monarch
    One of three daytime uphill routes, Mirk leads you to the expert terrain of Mirkwood Basin.

    Vail
    Call the Trails Hotline, 970-754-3049, for recommended daily routes.

    Winter Park
    If a trail is open, you can skin up it any time.


    Gear Breakdown  

    Get acquainted with the variety of gear options — because there’s more than one setup for skiing uphill.

    AT: Alpine Touring, also known as randonee, setups give skiers a free heel on the ascent, and a locked heel on the descent. AT setups range from lightweight tech bindings on carbon ski-mountaineering (ski-mo) skis to burly bindings on wide powder-friendly planks.

    Telemark: A free heel on the downhill characterizes telemark setups. Tele skiers are famous for dropping one knee on each descending turn. 

    Splitboard: The sole option for uphill snowboarders. Splitboards detach lengthwise into two planks for skinning up, then reattach into one board for downhill shredding.

    Nordic: Skinny, lightweight Nordic, or cross-country, setups are not as well-suited as tele or AT setups for the downhill. They are recommended more for gentler, rolling terrain.

    Skins: Skins are sticky sheets of synthetic or animal fiber that allow skiers to glide uphill without slipping backward. If you run your hand along lengthwise, one direction feels coarse, and one feels smooth—much like petting animal fur.


    What’s Up With Uphill?

    Wondering why anyone would want to ski up the mountain when there’s a perfectly good chairlift nearby? Find out in The Early Bird Gets the Turn: Why Uphill Skiing Is a Thing.

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