Heading up the Hill

My name is Chad Borofsky I’m the Assistant Ski Patrol Director here at Sugarbush.  I’ve been patrolling at the mountain full time for 28 years and live in the Mad River Valley with my family. About 15 years ago my wife gave me a set of climbing skins.  After 3 or 4 up and downs at Teton Pass in Jackson, Wyoming, I knew I’d found an outdoor activity to hold me over while I waited for mountain bike season to return.  Now I’m out on the hill at least four days a week sometimes even skinning twice a day.  Each time out is like hitting the reset button for my soul.

I must admit it took me sometime to learn the rules and codes of conduct and my wife was quick to point out that I needed to stay on the sides of the trails when traveling up hill. She also taught me that I should stay in one skin track if possible, especially on the powder days.  Most mornings she would kindly reminded to wear my headlight so I didn’t get run over by downhill skiers, groomers and snowmobiles.  If she wasn’t reminding me some other uphill traveler would kindly stop and educate me, which I appreciated when it was done with respect.  I appreciated the fact that the skinning community policed itself.  I realized that the last thing most uphill travelers want to do is have uphill travel in the valley shut down because a few people aren’t following the rules.

That’s why I do my best to check the Sugarbush snow report or uphill travel page for updates to conditions and uphill closures. When traveling uphill here we ask that you please exercise good judgement, educate those who are new to the sport, and be safe.  It’s also extremely important that you stay on the designated routes within the designated time periods as we have lots of operations happening on the mountain at any given time, even early in the morning or late at night. Our typical uphill routes are as follows, but you should always check the snow report for changes before heading out:

At Lincoln Peak

  • Between the hours of 5 PM to 10 PM on the following trail: Easy Rider to Lower Pushover to Pushover to Birch Run. Guests must be off the hill by 10 PM.
  • Between the hours of 4 AM to 7 AM on the following trails: Racer’s Edge to Lower Snowball to Snowball to the top of the Valley House Chair. Guests must be off the hill by 7 AM.

At Mt. Ellen

  • Between the hours of  5 PM to 10 PM and 4 AM to 7 AM on the following trails: Easy Does It to Straight Shot to Cruiser to Lower Rim Run to Rim Run. Guests must be off the hill by 7 AM and 10 PM.

It’s particularly important that you’re off the hill by those times. If you do run into an emergency at Sugarbush use 496-3600 or 911 to contact the local ambulance service and they will coordinate a rescue.  Now, when I travel uphill,  I always bring a pack with some first aid gear and a little extra food and clothing even for my short excursions.  I even purchased the Garmin Inreach GPS device in case I get injured. Especially since I often go out on the hill at night alone and in tricky weather.  

Uphill travel can be a lot of fun, and it’s great that we offer it as an option here at Sugarbush. We just ask that you please abide by our policies to ensure we can continue offering it into the future. Finally, don’t forget to get your uphill travel pass before heading out. Don’t worry, it’s free!

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