Fri, Jan 10, 2014 01:58 PM
KILLINGTON - Winter uphill travel by means of skinning and
snowshoeing is becoming increasingly popular across the county and
world. Some ski resorts have welcomed the sport; other have fought
it - some to the point of jailing perpetrators (on Feb. 5, 2011,
backcountry skier Roland Fleck was arrested at Jackson Hole
Mountain Resort and was tobogganed off in handcuffs after he
refused to stop skiing uphill. Fleck, age 78, a longtime Jackson
doctor, fitness buff and one of the original investors in Teton
Village, was arrested on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass,
interference with an officer, unsafe skiing and theft of services.
Fleck spent about seven hours in the Teton County Jail.)
Killington Ski Resort and Pico Mountain now fall into the former
group supporting uphill travel. In fact, just before the New Year,
they published their formal policy welcoming winter uphill travel
enthusiasts with signage, an official pass and designated routes
open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Locals, many of whom have been skinning up the mountains for
years, have largely welcomed the resorts' policy and see it as a
very progressive step forward. Last year a group of locals formed
an organization called USTO (Uphill Snow Travelers Organization) to
consolidate their hopes and wishes for an officially uphill travel
policy and then opened the conversation with Killington Resort and
"This is a big deal folks," said Mike Miller, a founder of USTO in
an email to the local travel group. "If we can respect the
mountains' policy they will open more terrain for us." The uphill
routes are currently Ramshead at Killington and Summit Glades at
The goals of USTO as an organization is to promote safe uphill
travel, create a central location for members to share concerns
and/or opinions, to work with resorts or land owners who have
policies in place and to help others create policies.
During the winter of 2013 a group of USTO members worked closely
with Killington on a pilot program for the winter, to see if it
could be integrated into their winter operations. The 24-week long
experiment produced both good and bad results "but it was exactly
what was needed to move forward," Miller reported. "It opened our
eyes as to why certain parts of the mountain are unsafe or a
nuisance to Mountain Operations."
The Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation and the
National Forest Service acknowledge that ski resort operators have
the ability to decide and define how ski trails and facilities can
be operated, accessed and utilized. This provides Killington
and Pico authority over land use at both locations. Killington
Ski Resort leases land at Killington from the State of Vermont and
land at Pico is privately owned.
Uphill travel routes will be made available at both Killington and
Pico during the winter season as conditions permit.
"We will open uphill travel routes in line with our ability to
effectively manage and operate all functions within the entire
resort, including but not limited to snowmaking, trail grooming,
equipment maintenance, snow removal, etc.," Killington Resort
explains in their Uphill Travel Policy online.
Uphill travel routes can be accessed from designated resort
parking areas: the Ramshead lot at Killington and near the Little
Pico Triple at Pico (far left as you enter the lot.) Both have an
Uphill Travel sign plaza, where folks can check out current route
status and updates, also available on the resorts' conditions
Easy Street at Ramshead:
From the Ramshead Base Lodge, proceed up the looker's right side
of Easy Street trail.
Follow Easy Street to its intersection with Header trail. These
two trails run together for approx. 100 yards.
Turn right up Easy Street and follow it to the base of Swirl
Continue up Swirl to the top of the Ramshead Express Quad
If you decide to leave the ski resort premises and go beyond the
ski area boundary, an out-of-bounds uphill travel route continues
up Old Swirl trail to the summit of Ramshead Mountain. (This
section of the route is outside the ski area boundary and is not
maintained or checked by ski resort personnel at any time. Proceed
at your own risk.)
From the base of the Little Pico Triple chairlift, proceed up the
looker's left side of Lower Pike trail.
Bear left up C-Slope trail and continue up C-Slope until it
intersects with Bushwacker trail.
Turn left up Bushwacker trail for approximately 30 yards and then
turn right up Summit Glade trail.
Continue up Summit Glade to 49er trail.
Follow 49er trail to the summit of Pico Mountain.
The Uphill Travel Pass
There is no charge for an Uphill Travel Pass for anyone who has
already purchased a 2013-14 Killington or Pico season
pass. Uphill Travel passes are available at the Killington and
Pico Season Pass offices during operating hours. For those without
a season pass, a 2013-14 Uphill Travel Pass can be purchased for
$20. The 2013-14 Uphill Travel Pass may be used at both Killington
and Pico Mountain at Killington. The Pass does not provide lift
access either up or down the mountain.
In addition to the 2013-14 Uphill Travel Pass with photo ID all
uphill travelers are required to sign a 2013-14 Winter Uphill
Travel Express Assumption of Risk form before accessing open and
designated uphill travel routes at Killington and Pico. For
children ages 17 and under signature of an Express Assumption of
Risk form by parent or legal guardian is required.
Passes must be carried by all uphill travelers at all times when
accessing uphill travel routes on resort property, both during
operating and non-operating hours. Please be prepared to present
your pass to resort personnel upon request.
In order to help provide an enjoyable and orderly experience for
both uphill and downhill guests on a 24/7 basis, all uphill
travelers are required to follow resort rules, including the best
practices, the resorts' policy states. Rules specific to uphill
travel include but are not limited to:
Wearing reflective clothing and a bright headlamp is mandatory if
you will be on the mountain in low light or when it's dark. It's
your responsibility to make yourself visible to operations
You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible
from above. Do not stop in high traffic areas.
Travel on the edge of the trail and don't stand more than two
people side-by-side across the trail.
Pets are not permitted on trails and slopes.
(For a complete list of rules and safety tips visit