Hiking & skinning Vail Mountain: a message from USFS and Ski Patrol
With all this early season snow and opening day approaching Nov. 20, more and more people are strapping on their skins and snowshoes and heading up the mountain. 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 limited to Simba on the west end of the mountain, which can be accessed from Lionshead, throughout Thursday. Once the mountain opens on Friday, uphill travel will continue to be limited to Simba and is not permitted between the operating hours of 9am-3:30pm.
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’s full uphill access policy can be viewed online at www.vail.com. 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 back country- it changes 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. If you choose to go into the back country, you’re on your own
As always, early season conditions are very unsettled. If you do decide to go into the back country, be aware that snow can be crusty and unconsolidated. Proceed with caution.
4. Hiking up once the mountain is open
Because terrain will be limited when the mountain opens, we ask that you avoid hiking and skinning up during operating hours 9am-3:30pm. As the season progresses and more of the mountain opens, you will be free to go up during operating hours but you may only bring your dog along once the mountain closes for the day. Please do not try to hike up runs where grooming or snowmaking are underway.
For full rules and regs, please see the Uphill Access Section on Vail.com Safety page‘s “Safety Tips” tab.
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!