Breckenridge tightens rules for uphillers |

Breckenridge tightens rules for uphillers

Summit Daily/Jim PokrandtOfficials at the Breckenridge Ski Resort, a popular mountain with uphill traffic early in the morning, are asking users to abide by safety rules that include sticking to the middle of the hill, using headlamps in the dark, controlling dogs and most importantly, cleaning up dog doo from the middle of the runs. Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton, center, supports the rules for public use of National Forest slopes under ski resort permit. In this early morning, snowy photo, Newton chats with Dave Pringle of Breckenridge. Resort communications manager Emily Jacob is at the right.

BRECKENRIDGE ” Early every morning before the lifts turn, dozens of enthusiasts can be found skinning or walking uphill at the Breckenridge Ski Resort for exercise and first crack at the groomed or powder-covered slopes.

The growth of uphill culture has safety officials at the resort posting new rules so that the enthusiasts ” and especially their dogs ” can safely co-exist with snowmakers, groomers and other workers snowmobiling up and down the mountain.

“We are trying to add safety rules before it becomes a problem,” said ski resort risk manager Dennis Kuhn.

Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton is supporting the ski resort’s efforts. While the resort is operated on public lands, the resort does not have to allow uphill traffic under its permit.

“There’s been some confusion and a couple of close calls, mostly with dogs and machines,” Newton said. “I’m impressed the ski area is willing to work with folks with the dog situation.”

In Newton’s mind, Breckenridge is as liberal a resort as there is in allowing uphill traffic.

Dogs are a concern not only for their confrontations with machines, but for what they leave behind on the slopes.

One of the new rules is that dog owners must pick up dog doo deposited on the ski runs.

Here are the rules for anybody snowshoeing, skinning or hiking uphill:

Before or after operations

– When it’s dark, wear reflective clothing, wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight;

– Have dogs on leashes or under voice command. Dogs have to be off the slopes by 8:30 a.m. Clean up dog doo;

– No travel on black-diamond, double-black diamond or closed runs;

– Go up the middle of the slopes as each side is reserved for snowmobile traffic;

– Travel above the Vista Haus is permitted on the Four O’Clock Trail only and must terminate at the T-Bar ski patrol warming hut. Travel down to the Vista Haus must be accomplished on Four O’Clock only by 8:15 a.m.; and

– Skiing or riding down is allowed only on the Four O’Clock Trail. Bowl skiing is banned from the time ski patrol sweeps the bowl in the afternoon until the time it opens it in the morning.

During operations

– Stay toward the side of the trail;

– Position yourself so you are visible from above;

– Wear bright-colored clothing; and

– No dogs whatsoever until the ski patrol is finished sweeping the slopes in the afternoon.

Other rules

– Snowmobiles and sledding are prohibited at any time on any part of the ski resort;

– Uphill traffic is subject to the Skier Safety Act which calls for skiers to be responsible and understand the inherent dangers of the sport; and

– Violations of any of the rules could result in the ski patrol pulling ski passes or pressing criminal charges.

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