After Sugarbush temporarily suspended uphill travel outside of operating hours for a variety of non-compliance issues, the resort reinstated it -- with caveats -- on January 22.




Uphill travel was suspended earlier last week for multiple reasons, including people failing to adhere to the designated uphill and downhill routes. Resort operators don’t want uphill travelers interacting with groomers, winch cables, snowmaking guns and hoses. Knowing that uphill travelers are sticking to specific routes allows the resort to work around them.

“In just the past week, a few examples of issues we have had include people ascending Straight Shot (not an uphill route), descending on trails including Riemergasse and Inverness (not downhill routes) and descending down Cliffs during winch cat operations. That last issue in particular is extremely concerning as two skiers hit the winch cat cable, ejected from their skis, and then skied off before our cat operator could turn around to get up to them. These skiers not only ignored our uphill policy, which clearly states you can’t ski Cliffs when winching is in progress, they skied right past the flashing signage we put at the top of the trail. Everyone involved is extremely fortunate that a more serious incident didn’t occur,” Sugarbush communications director John Bleh wrote in a resort bog post.

Bleh said there have been other issues as well including not using headlamps when required, not skinning in single-file lines, bringing dogs and bringing children in backpacks. Sugarbush’s uphill policy is available on its website at and people can register for a free uphill travel pass here: Uphill Travel Pass. And that pass is good for the whole season.




Sugarbush has provided maps online for people to see which routes are available (located on the Uphill Travel webpage). There is also signage located at the beginning of the uphill routes at both mountains. New to the snow report this year, aside from mentioning any relevant uphill travel news in the narrative, the resort has built out three trails for uphill travel routes: Lincoln Peak Evening Uphill Route, Lincoln Peak Morning Uphill Route and Mt. Ellen Uphill Route.

“Additionally, we work to mark winching operations on mountain with flashing trail signage (like on Cliffs), but we still need skiers and riders to actually abide by that mountain signage. We also work with our mountain operations teams on awareness and education about uphill travel, but at the end of the day, their main priority is focusing on their job, which is why it is so important to stay away from operations and not burden staff like groomers who need to be focusing on putting out a good product for our guests,” Bleh wrote.

Regarding routes, he said Lincoln Peak offers uphill travel at designated times and on designated routes outside of operating hours. These routes and times are directly correlated with grooming operations. There’s a morning route and an evening route. At Mt. Ellen there is one designated uphill route that is available both during operating hours and outside of operating hours (aside from 4 to 5 p.m.) There are specific downhill route options there too, with some caveats based on if Cliffs is being groomed.  

Also consider that mountain operations take place at all times and climbers need to stay away from resort operations and machinery. Headlights are required from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour after sunrise. Hikers/skinners must hold a valid Uphill Travel Pass available at no cost through the Sugarbush E-store. Hikers must hike and skin in a single-file line, on the side of the trail and only on designated uphill routes going up. In the event of emergency, call 911 and be aware that injuries that occur during off hours may require extended rescue times and additional charges being incurred.