words and photos by Kris Thomas
With the couple inches reported this morning, I went skinning today at Sugar Bowl with a few friends, and we were asked to stop by the special tickets office and check in. Sugar Bowl is now issuing an uphill access pass on a season pass card stock and an armband to hold said pass. All free of charge. All that is required is signing a normal liability waiver that is standard practice when purchasing an pass, and a copy of their uphill usage policy.
The uphill policy is simple, designating certain runs to skin on, the protocols for skinning during multiple times during the day, how to handle your pets in the resorts boundaries,and what kind of hazards to expect that may not exist in the “true” backcountry.
This seems noteworthy, a for-profit ski resort partnering with the general public to access strong>terrain that may be shallow, hazardous, variable and markedly past the normal expectations of inherently dangerous ski terrain.
Obviously, the benefit to them is that they log the day use of the uphill access skiers and have a chance in court if something went wrong in their boundaries, but the cooperation by designing a system to allow and even encourage this kind of use is laudable. In my book it makes Sugar Bowl the Tahoe leader in the effort to incorporate “adventure skiers” into the fold of the lift-riding general public.