Last winter we blogged about the onerous rules for uphill travel that Whitefish Mountain Resort had put in place. The overly restrictive policy caused an uproar, and lots of comments on our post, see it here. The bogus policy restricted uphill traffic to one route, and most importantly, didn’t allow uphilling after the lifts closed.
Apparently the Forest Service and resort listened to those of you you who wrote letters or commented here, and the resort has announced a new set of rules that allows at least some uphilling during evening hours. The policy is still too restrictive in my view, but represents progress in recognizing a legitimate activity that should be accommodated.
The new policy adds a second uphilling route and will swap closure of the routes to keep skiers safe from grooming equipment. More, it will provide one route or the other from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., which will allow some before and after work uphilling but is still far short of simply leaving at least one route open all night, as we feel it should be.
According to reports, 126 comments were received by the resort and USFS, and nearly all comments asked for evening access.
It’s interesting to note that the resort claims one reason they were willing to work on the rule changes was that most people obeyed the uphilling rules last season. Sort of the opposite of what I call the “kindergarten effect,” meaning “if a few people break the rules, we punish everyone!” Sorry to hear the resort is treating uphillers like a kindergarten class, but at least the outcome is okay. This time.
One has to wonder if 200 people got together in a mass civil disobedience uphill event and marched up the resort at night, what would the outcome be? More revenue for the USFS in the form of 200 tickets? Extended uphilling hours?
More, something funny and ironic occurs to me. When snowboarders and eventually skiers wanted structures for tricks, resorts bent over backward to build terrain parks, otherwise known as broken bone parks. The resorts didn’t seem too concerned about safety so long as the tickets were rolling in. Now some uphillers come along and we hear this endless yammering about how these dangerous groomers, air lines, etc. are just up there waiting to maim us. One has to wonder, if uphillers bought tickets, would the resort be quite so worried? I’m just saying…
Whatever the case, look for issues such as this to keep cropping up all over the country as people discover the joy of uphilling.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.