Earn Your Turns at Colorado’s Resorts

Earn Your Turns at Colorado’s Resorts

Uphill Access

Have you always wanted to ski some resorts but your pass covers another? Perhaps you would like a workout before you ski downhill? Or maybe you want to practice back country skiing without the risk of avalanches? Here is the breakdown off all Colorado ski resorts that allow uphill access. 

Note that there have been over 170 resorts in Colorado, most of which have shut down. While many still see a good amount of back country skiers and riders, they will not be on this list as those are usually unmitigated for avalanches and therefore have more risk in doing them. 

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin allows uphill access for free but you must get a uphill access pass in the Season Pass Office during operational hours. Uphill access can be allowed during operational hours as well as outside the hours. When the ski area is open, there are restrictions at to which paths you may take. These areas may be closed if there is avalanche mitigation or special activities taking place. Outside of hours, certain terrain is always closed. The best part of A-Bay, as the locals call it, you can bring your pup with you when the lifts aren’t running! 

Fore more information on their uphill access, go to their website here


All four of the Aspen areas allow uphill access outside of operational hours. It is free to do at all four; however, if you chose to ride a lift later, you must have a pass or life ticket. Aspen Mountain does not allow uphill access during operational hours while Aspen Highlands requires all uphillers to be past their Merry-Go-Round restaurant by 9 am. Snowmass and Buttermilk both allow uphill access during operational hours. 

Snowmass allows dogs outside of operational hours while the other three areas do not allow dogs at all. All four have designated routes and you can see more about the four mountains on their respective pages here:  Aspen,  Buttermilk,  Highlands Snowmass

Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek also allows free uphill access during certain conditions and they have a trail hotline number. They ask that you call the number to see the approved uphill travel routes and mountain access as it can change day to day depending. Uphill access is allowed at Beaver Creek during operational hours as well as outside these hours. Dogs are allowed outside the hours, but must remain on leash. For more information on their hours, go to their site here


Breckenridge allows free uphill access outside of operational hours only and requires that all uphill users must be clear of the mountain by 8:30 in the morning. There are designated routes that users must stay on and all black terrain and terrain park features are off limits. Cars that are parked do require an uphill access parking permit. It is free to get, so make sure you get one as your car may be towed without. Dogs are not allowed at all for uphill access. For more information, visit their site here


Copper allows uphill access during certain non-operational hours. While it is also free, you must obtain a pass to skin or snowshoe at the mountain’s Lower Patrol Room. There are designated uphill routes that you must follow. Dogs are not allowed on the hill at anytime at Copper. You must check and see when uphill access is allowed, as the resort is usually open for a while before they allow uphill access. For more information, visit their website here

Crested Butte

Crested Butte allows uphill access during operational and nonoperational hours. It costs $10 per day for uphill use. You may also purchase a season pass for uphill use. The price of the season pass varies depending on the time of year it is purchased. There is a certain all day route uphillers must use during operational hours. Outside of hours, more routes are available. Dogs are allowed on designated uphill dog routes  only and are not allowed during operational hours. For general uphill information, go to C.B.’s website here; for more in depth uphill information click here


Eldora also allows uphill access to skiers for a cost. You can add it on to a pass you already have to the mountain, or you may buy just an uphill access one. Prices for the add on and pass vary, but a day ticket is $25. Weekend uphill access is prohibited and is allowed during operational hours only. There are two route you can follow, and if you have the season pass, you may do an early morning access route available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays which is open from 6:00am to 9:00am. Dogs are not allowed. You may find more information on their website here

Echo Mountain

At this time, Echo does not have uphill access; however, they are working to set up an uphill access point. We will update this page when they have uphill access! For more information, go here.

Howelsen Hill

Howelsen hill has many trails for Nordic skiing, but does not have uphill access through the main resort. A ticket or a pass is required for groomed trails, but their Blackmere Trail does not require one. For more information, go to their website here. You may need to call to get information as to whether their trails are open. 

Kendall Mountain

A tiny resort near the well known Silverton, uphill access is not allowed; however, there are trails for cross country and snowshoeing on the mountain. For more information visit their website here


Keystone allows uphill access outside of their public operating hours. They also have night skiing, so be sure to check when those hours are as it extends their operational hours. There are not specific routes, but certain areas may be closed off at night for maintenance. Dogs, with the exception of service dogs, are not allowed. For more information, visit their site here


As of this year, Loveland no longer allows uphill access during operational hours. It is free during non operational hours, but you must have a free uphill access pass which you may get at their ski patrol headquarters. There are two uphill access route but you may ski whichever descent you would like as long as it is open. Uphill access is only allowed at the Basin with the exception of viewing access for race finishes on Twist. Dogs are allowed outside of operational hours at Loveland Basin. For more information, visit their website here


Monarch mountain does allow uphill access. You must have a ticket before participating though. It is complimentary for season pass holders and is $20 for non season pass holders. Once you have this ticket, it is good for the season. Uphill access is allowed but restricted during operational hours. Only certain routes are allowed then. Outside of operational hours, you may ascend on other routes. Dogs are prohibited during operating hours. For more information, you may visit their site here


Powderhorn allows uphill access though you must get a complimentary uphill access pass before setting off. Uphill access is restricted during operational hours and you must follow certain routes. It is also allowed during non operational hours. Dogs are not allowed through certain dated on the mountain so be sure to check out their site here, to see if your pooch is allowed. 


Purgatory does not allow uphill access at any time. For more information on the resort, click here for their website.


Uphill access from the base is not permitted during operating season. Silverton is mainly uphill access once you have bought the lift ticket, as it is a mainly backcountry ski area with only one lift. Heli access is also available. You must have avalanche gear to ride the lift and you should be knowledgeable about using it.  For more information go to their website here

Ski Cooper

Ski Cooper allows uphill access, but it is restricted to certain times. They offer a free uphill access pass which you must obtain during operational hours. During operational hours, you can only use two uphill routes. Outside of these hours, any route is available to uphill  access as long as they are open and not being groomed.  Their uphill access changed throughout the year so be sure to double check their website here for uphill access dates. Dogs are also prohibited on the mountain from November through April. Those dates are also on their website. 

Ski Granby Ranch

Ski Granby allows uphill access on designated routes. They have two Nordic trails networks. One is on the mountain itself, the other is goes around the golf course. You are allowed on trails during and after operational hours. All trails are free to ski on and those that may be access on the Quickdraw express are $5 dollars to ride. Dogs are permitted on the Nordic trails. For more information, visit their website here

Ski Hesperus

Ski Hesperus allows uphill access outside of operational hours. It costs $25 dollars for a season pass and is allowed at designated areas within the ski area outside of ski operational hours. You can purchase it at their ticket office or in Durango. Dogs are allowed. For more information, visit their site here.


Steamboat allows uphill access with limited restrictions. It is free from the informational center. There are certain areas that are closed during certain time and are shown on their trail map. They have two suggested routes for uphill access, though you may use others as long as it is open to the public. Dogs are prohibited during operational hours. As Steamboat allows night skiing, these hours may vary. Go to their website here for more information. 


Sunlight allows uphill access for free, but you must obtain their complimentary pass from Guest Services or Ski Patrol. There are suggested travel routes both during operational and non operational hours though you may use other routes. Dogs are not allowed at anytime during the operating season. For more information, check out their site here


Telluride allows uphill access on designated routes between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm only. It is free to skin up and you do not need to obtain an uphill access pass. Dogs are allowed to accompany uphillers from 4:30 pm to 10:00 pm. For more information, visit their website here.


Vail allows uphill access at any hour, but you must call the Vail Trail Hotline to know which areas are open for skinning. Dogs are allowed outside of operational hours. Their full policy is unavailable on their website, but you can find their blog post with more information here. For more information on the resort, visit their website here

*I will update this post when their uphill policy is posed online so you can access it. 

Winter Park

Winter Park allows uphill access both during and outside their operational hours and is allowed almost year round under restrictions. In certain territories, different trails are allowed for uphill access during ski season. Dogs are allowed an hour after closing up to and hour before opening on uphill access trails. Click here for their full policy. For more information on the resort, follow this link for their website.

Wolf Creek

Wolf creek allows uphill access during operational hours only. Trails may change and their policy is not listed on their site. Call them for information on daily skinning on the mountain and visit their website here for more information. They do offer cross country ski trails as well, free of charge. Your dog is allowed on these cross country trails both during and outside of operational hours. 

Things to Note

1. Make sure to obey the rules at each ski resort when you do uphill and follow their signs. Also be aware of others doing uphill access and downhill skiers. Outside of operational hours, ski patrol is not available, unless noted by the resort itself. As such, if you need emergency serviced, it will fall under Search and Rescue. Be sure take a friend with you, especially when going outside of operational hours. 

2. All mountains do ski maintenance outside of operational hours, so be prepared to follow postings about open terrain. You may encounter snow mobiles, snow making, snow cats, and avalanche mitigation. Most resorts close advanced and extreme terrain to uphill access and you must follow all posting about closed terrain. 

3. Make sure to check the mountain’s website before going as some allow uphill during certain times of the year and may also close the mountain to all uphill access if dangerous conditions are present. Be prepared when going on the mountain. Almost all resorts require headlamps and reflective arm bands or clothing when skinning or snowshoeing up. 

4. All ski resorts require you to have a lift pass to ride their lifts. 

5. Most mountains do not allow snow biking, so if this is your means of uphill transport, double check that it is a resort that allows you. Some mountains allow snowshoeing up as long as you are skiing or riding down, but double check on their website that it is allowed before heading off.

6. Check parking at each ski resort as well. Some resorts require parking in different areas outside of operational hours and you may be towed or locked inside a gate if you are parked in the wrong area. 

8. For areas that allow dogs outside of operational hours, make sure your dogs is either on leash, or if allowed off under voice command. The machinery can be dangerous and can hurt or kill your dog if they do after it. 

9. Also respect all trail postings. Certain areas would like you to skin on the side while other prefer the middle of the run depending on the time.

10. This is updated for the 2017/2018 season. Resorts may change their policy each season so be sure to check back again when looking at the 2018/2019 season. 


Danielle an avid adventurer and traveler. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in anthropology and classical archaeology. She has worked most recently as a ski and snowboard instructor in her native state of Colorado. When she doesn't have skis or a board strapped to her feet, she enjoy hiking, mountaineering, trail running, climbing, and backpacking. She loves to read and is currently working on her first novel. She also dabbles in photography and plays the piano and the drums in her free time.

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