What do you think about skinning in or skinning through ski resorts?
This is a very hot topic among backcountry skiing community. For sure it is a bit of an oxymoron “backcountry skiers skinning in ski resorts” but there are very specific reasons why all of us do it from time to time.
My reasons for doing it is accessibility, training and certain avalanche conditions. Some times I just want to skin through a resort to access backcountry while other times, after a storm, I would do couple of laps in a resort just to be safe.
Main reason why ski resorts don’t like us doing it is their liability and their insurance policies.
I understand their point of view, yet I believe there is a solution; however, there is not much will (based on what I experienced couple of times) to agree on something.
(This issue seems almost non-existent in most of the European resorts and around the world. It looks like we, in North America, tend to sue too often for small things, so we are paying a price for that even on this end.)
I had discussions about this issue with numerous staff members at couple of Canadian and US ski resorts. We always ended up in a “closed, unlogical” loop, example:
When you buy a ticket, by that act, you are waiving your rights to sue them for damages. (Specific conditions of such texts can be found on the back side of every ski area lift ticket.)
I am not a lawyer, but my reaction to that was that if I buy a ticket, thus waiving my rights and satisfying their liabilities, I should be OK to skin up. The answer is NO. That has to with their “ski area rules”. (I bet, those can have wide interpretation.)
So my next suggestion was that if a more complex document (like a season permit to skin up at specific times, on specific runs) is crafted I would be willing to pay for it every season and sign it. The answer was NO.
Again, not being a lawyer, my next reaction was: “Whether it is more safe to have weed-smoking-chimneys take a break at the most invisible spots (for downhill traffic) than a very experienced person to skin up by the ropes of the ski area boundaries?” There was no definite answer on that. More or less they were leaning towards YES, but they hesitated to say so in a clear way.
No disrespect to anyone smoking anything, I just couldn’t come up with a better example at that moment; I was cold and furious. 😉
Since I know my stand on this topic, I would like to know what do you think:
What do you think is a fair solution for both parties to address this issue?
Should we be allowed to skin up at all?
Can we do laps when avalanche ratings in the area are high or extreme?
Should we be allowed to skin up only to access backcountry?
Should we pay for it?
You can take a stab, in the comments below, at all of these questions or just one, or even come up with your own. I believe, we are all very interested to see what each of us thinks.