Arapahoe Basin announced the opening of uphill access and the creation of a new uphill policy meant to improve communication between the mountain's staff and uphill guests.
Uphill access will be offered during non-operating hours. Once more terrain opens, uphill access will be available during regular hours of operation. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends and holidays operations from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Every morning, ski patrol decides by 6 a.m. whether or not to open uphill access based on a variety of on-hill factors. Uphill access status is posted on the uphill access section on the ski area's website.
New this year, uphill access guests can obtain a free uphill access pass from the season pass office. This pass will help identify uphill access guests and allow Arapahoe Basin to better communicate terrain updates and mountain policies.
One important change addressed in the new policy is the scope of the terrain available to uphill users while the lifts are running. Uphill access is restricted to the east side of High Noon between the base area and Black Mountain Lodge. Access above Black Mountain Lodge will be prohibited during operating hours.
"With the increase in uphill use, narrow terrain corridors and dramatic terrain transitions, we felt it was no longer appropriate to mix both uphill and downhill use above mid-mountain during operating hours," said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin's chief operating officer.
Henceroth said he is a proponent of allowing uphill access at the mountain, as he himself enjoys hiking up mountain during off-hours.
"I am hopeful we can preserve this experience for a very long time," Henceroth said.
Changes to the policy were made after a survey of uphill access users was conducted last season. Revisions to the uphill access policy were made after reviewing the results of this survey. Results from the survey can be accessed at www.arapahoebasin.com/ABasin/snow-conditions/runs.aspx#uphill-access.