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

Nov. 14, 2013

Information for hiking and skinning up Vail MountainAs opening day approaches Nov. 22, 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.

Update 11/14/13: There will be a public meeting at the Minturn Holy Cross Ranger Station Weds, Nov 20th, read on for more info.

A few key pointers for early season:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.


Public Info Session: Weds, Nov 20 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Holy Cross Ranger Station at 24747 U.S. Hwy 24 in Minturn

White River National Forest staff and the Ski Patrol Directors for Vail and Beaver Creek will be on hand to review each resort’s Uphill Travel Policies and discuss safe practices for using ski area facilities on public land.

“Our goal is to facilitate the responsible use of Vail Mountain so that all of us can continue to enjoy it in all the ways we currently do,” said Julie Rust, director of Vail Mountain Ski Patrol. “It’s imperative that we are all aware of the changing conditions and operations on the mountain, night and day and accessing both Vail and Beaver Creek accordingly.”

We hope to see you there, and please help spread the word!


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!