Interest in uphill travel routes where skiers can skin or hike up resort mountains continues to climb at ski areas throughout North America. In the past, most uphill skiers at resorts were backcountry skiers looking for a workout or better snow conditions when avalanche risks or conditions were bad in the backcountry. That trend seems to be changing, with more alpine skiers buying touring gear to better access resort sidecountry and sneak in some exercise.
Many ski resorts have responded by providing designated uphill and often groomed travel routes for skiers. Skiers have been climbing and skiing back down Mount Spokane for years (both within and outside of the resort boundary), but with more skiers heading uphill, it eventually raised some serious safety and liability concerns for Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, including the potential for hiker/downhill skier collisions and accidents involving after-hours grooming equipment.
The Hourglass, No Alibi and Two Face often necessitate the use of a winch grooming system to maintain managed slopes, which could create extreme hazards for anyone who happened to be charging up the mountain unaware. These concerns prompted Mt. Spokane to close the resort to uphill travel and post signs in 2012. That closure raised some skiers’ eyebrows but also led to Mountain Gear and Mt. Spokane working together (with skier input) to develop a safe, designated uphill route and policy over the past year.
The new rules and responsibilities along with a map and description of the B29 route from Lodge 1, including very specific days and times when uphill travel in the resort is allowed, is available on the Mt. Spokane uphill travel policy page. Uphill travelers in the patrolled ski area boundary are required to familiarize themselves with the policy and route (which are subject to change). Don’t rely on this article or beta from your buddies; do your part and read up on the policy, make sure you know the exact route and days and times it’s available, and keep tabs on any future changes at: www.mtspokane.com/uphill-travel-policy. Uphill skiers should also check the Mt. Spokane Snow Report and the new information kiosk at Lodge 1 for notices of closures or route changes.
Uphill travelers are also subject to the Skier Responsibility Code and other Mt. Spokane rules and policies. Uphill users also need to follow specific parking instructions (details online). Parking prior to ski area operational hours, or on non-operational days, requires the use of a Sno-Park Permit.
B29 Route Access
The uphill route begins at Lodge 1 and travels uphill on the far left side of the run up to B-29 and then up the outside edge of the groomed trail to Tea Kettle next to the ski area boundary to the summit (map and detailed route description online). The route is available for uphill travel from 6:30 a.m. until 9:10 a.m. on operational days (some exceptions apply – check the website!). At 9:10 a.m., skinners must be transitioned to downhill skiers wherever they are. Prior to 9:10 a.m., the descent route is limited to Tea Kettle/B29. Familiarize yourself with the route and policy online, including specific days and times when uphill travel is permitted during non-operational days (Mondays and Tuesdays except holidays). //