From Scott Condon at The Aspen Times:
The U.S. Forest Service is working on new rules that clarify that ski areas that lease public lands for their operations can charge people for uphill travel. The directive could affect fitness fanatics that use skis with climbing skins, snowshoes and stabilizers.
My favorite part of this article is how it was filed under Obituaries in the Summit Daily. My least favorite part of this article is the fact that mountains may be able to charge die-hards, only excluding them further from the kinds of terrain and activities that helped make the industry what it is today.
That said, I can see how a fee to offset the resources needed to manage the uphill access (staff reviewing applications, creating the passes, etc.) is reasonable. My guess is, the first mountain to implement fees (if any) would get a lot of backlash and PR, they’ll step back, and then slowly everyone will implement a very nominal fee.
If you’d like to submit a comment, you can do so at the Federal Register’s “Proposed Directive for Additional Seasonal or Year-Round Recreation Activities at Ski Areas”.