Aspen uphillers will reign supreme Saturday at Buttermilk/Tiehack
NEW POLICY ON POOCHES
Skico announced this week a change in policy on dogs at its four ski areas.
Dogs are no longer welcome at the ski areas before and after operating hours during ski season. Skico said dogs have become too much of a management issue.
“We’re also asking that you start leaving your dogs at home and find venues other than our four ski areas to exercise them during the winter operating season,” Skico said in its announcement. “We appreciate your support and understanding around this topic and the decision to manage a situation that has gotten out of control.”
Uphillers at Buttermilk/Tiehack, in particular, have brought along their four-legged friends early in the morning or after the lifts shut down for the day. Dog waste has been a constant problem, with some dog handlers refusing to pick up droppings.
Skco Vice President of Communications Jeff Hanle said the policy will be reviewed prior to next season.
Buttermilk Ski Area’s embrace of uphillers will take a giant step forward Saturday with a day and evening dedicated to folks donning climbing skins.
Buttermilk will host the Uphill Ascent throughout the day, then the ski area will host the final Full Moon Dinner of the season at Cliffhouse Restaurant from 5 to 8 p.m.
“Buttermilk continues to be the uphill universe for the Roaring Fork Valley and we welcome anyone that loves ascending our hill,” Buttermilk Mountain Manager Susan Cross said. “The city of Aspen and the Forest Service have embraced our uphill initiatives and we’ve created a community that is bonded through climbing.”
On some weekend days, there are as many people heading uphill as downhill at Buttermilk.
Saturday’s event is being sponsored by Aspen Skiing Co. and the city of Aspen. It will feature vendors at a “Festival Village” at the Main Buttermilk base, demoing gear and offering uphill clinics. It is a free event, open to athletes of all abilities using all types of non-motorized equipment.
“Options for uphilling include ski touring, trail running, snowshoeing, split boarding and hiking,” said Skico’s notice of the event.
Free uphill clinics will be offered on the hour starting at 9 a.m. The last clinic will start at 1 p.m. Hours of operation for vendors and uphillers will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Uphillers will be welcome to download on the Summit Express lift during the ski area’s operating hours.
Buttermilk/Tiehack will be open for business as usual with downhill skiers and snowboarders during the day Saturday.
The Full Moon dinner will be offered at the Cliff House from 5 to 8 p.m. Participants will be asked to ascend the designated route on Tiehack. There is no downhill access on the lifts during the moonlight event. All participants must skin or hike up and ski, snowboard or hike down. Sleds are banned.
Skico stressed that there will be no dogs allowed on the ski area during the Full Moon Dinner.
“We will have staff at all three portals reminding all uphill traffic that this is a ‘dog-free’ event,” Skico said in a statement. “We have seen this event swell in popularity and strongly encourage everyone to come enjoy your time on Buttermilk without your dog.”
That’s part of a bigger change in policy on dogs (see fact box).
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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.