Hiking & skinning Vail Mountain: a message from USFS and Ski Patrol

Nov. 30, 2017

At Vail Mountain, the safety of our visitors and employees is of the utmost importance and that concern for safety is the deciding factor in all decision regarding uphill policy. Your cooperation with Vail Ski Patrol and U.S. Forest Service’s guidelines for safely skinning and hiking up Vail Mountain are what make the opportunity possible.

Due to early-season work on the mountain, uphill travel on Vail Mountain is currently closed. Once the mountain receives more snow, uphill travel will be allowed on, but limited to, Simba.

When uphill access does open, those climbing up the mountain should expect to encounter snowcats, including winch cats, snowmobiles, snowmaking equipment and other traffic, both day and night.

For any questions about skinning and hiking up the mountain or for trail recommendations on any given day, please call the Vail Trails Hotline at 970-754-3049.  Vail Mountain and the U.S. Forest Service thank guests for their understanding and cooperation.

A few key pointers:

1. Call before you go

Before accessing Vail Mountain, please call 970-754-3049 to find out where we are under construction and where you can access the backcountry – it does change daily. Also inform yourself of the latest snow conditions by contacting CAIC.

2. Restricted signs are VERY important

If a sign says restricted, there’s a reason. Whether snowmaking has laid a series of hoses, construction is underway or the snow is just not ready for skiers and riders, for your own safety, we ask that you stay out of closed sections of the mountain.

3. Reflective Materials, Headlamps, and Whistles.

It is strongly recommended that all Uphill Access users use reflective materials on ski poles, clothing, and/or packs to increase visibility. In addition to headlamps, flashing lights will make it easier for other users, as well as ski area personnel, to see you and your party in the dark. Lastly, a whistle can be beneficial if the need arises to send an audible warning or signal.

4. Uphill Access once the mountain is open

As the season progresses and more of the mountain opens, you will be free to go uphill during operating hours.

5. Hiking and Skinning with Dogs

Hiking and skinning with dogs is allowed only during non-operational hours. Dogs must be on a leash at all times on Vail Mountain.


If you ever have questions about skinning and hiking up the mountain or would like trail recommendations on any given day, please call the Vail Trails Hotline at 970-754-3049.

Thank you again for your cooperation – we look forward to seeing you on the mountain!

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