Uphill Ski Passes Might Change Ski Resorts Forever // Ski Industry News

Uphill Ski Passes: The Next Trend in Resort Skiing

The other day as I was wasting time on Facebook, a picture caught my eye. It wasn't one of those gimmicky "Like or Comment" photos, and it wasn't a link to some celebrity tabloid. In fact, it was relatively simple. It was a picture of someone's season pass. The odd thing about it wasn't the picture, shape, or color. The interesting part of this particular pass is that it read "Uphill Travel Pass."

The pass I was looking at was for Killington Mountain here in Vermont, but I'd never heard of such a thing. I mean, I've seen plenty of people trekking uphill at resorts before, but a majority have been early in the day, late in the day, or while the mountain's been closed altogether. The surprising thing about this pass to me, is that it allows you to use your AT setup at an actual resort.

Sure there are some AT skiers who choose to use their setups to escape crowds. And I'm positive that a majority of the skiers on the lift who are watching skiers hike the mountain will be baffled. But to me, the idea of Uphill Travel passes is genius, and here's why.

Typically, I spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk behind a computer screen, typing away. Sitting. After work, I'll head home and sit down and eat dinner, before sitting down for some T.V., music, or video games. Now, as a skier I've basically always had two options. I could buy a season's pass and sit on a chairlift between runs (and have a guarantee of being able to ski on snow all season long thanks to snowmaking), or I could buy an AT setup and keep my fingers crossed that it's a good snow year. Of course even if it did snow, I'd be restricted to skiing in the woods without the opportunity to push my speed limit on open groomers.

Uphill Ski Passes: Traditional Alpine Touring Image

Well, now the Uphill Travel pass gives me a third option. For the first time, I can manage to avoid sitting on the chairlift in order to ski groomers. Not that the chairlift is always a bad option, but there are certainly days when I'd rather be getting significant exercise than simply sitting my way to the top of the mountain. Which brings me to my next point.

An Uphill Travel pass at Killington + Pico Mountain costs non-seasons pass holders $20 for the 2013-2014 season. Twenty dollars, that's it. Now keep in mind that this is only on mountain, and that not every mountain has this pass available. But let's just pretend for a second that every mountain did offer a $20 Uphill Season's pass. This season, I spent $450 on a season's pass, and I like to think that I found a pretty good deal on it. Well, if I'd spent my money on $20 Uphill passes, I could be skiing 22 different resorts this winter. Now obviously that's ridiculous and I'd have no reason to do that, but that's kind of my point. The idea of an uphill ski pass is so cheap, that they might just be able to return skiing back to its roots. That is, skiing with the purpose of spending a Winter day outside, having fun without unloading your bank account.

Now, let me touch back on two things I mentioned earlier. First, the Uphill Travel pass is new enough that it caught my eye when I saw it pop up on Facebook. Second, I’m positive that not every mountain has an Uphill Travel Pass available. So, I decided to do some research and see just how many resorts I could find that have Uphill Travel Passes, or at least a policy in place regarding the subject. Well, fortunately it didn’t take long for me to find the United States Ski Mountaineering Association, who has compiled a list of resorts who have official uphill travel policies. Head over to their site to find out more!

USSMA List of Resorts with Uphill Travel Policies


Written by on 1/09/14