Skiing Uphill – It’s a Thing. And Here’s Why You Should Try It.

November 07, 2023 / Lily Windsor

Why Choose Uphill Skiing?

With the Breckenridge Ski Resort having a lift system with 35 separate machines intended to get skiers up the mountain, the idea of skiing uphill probably sounds like a crazy concept. Unless, that is, you want to experience the slopes and stunning mountain atmosphere in a completely new way.

Imagine the warmth of a winter sunrise chasing off the cold of a frosty wind and looking down at an untouched groomed run, now a shade of pink under the rosy morning. Picture breathing in the invigorating air of a winter morning as you clip into your skis and begin the descent, making fresh tracks on perfectly smooth snow as the sun rises.

Does uphill skiing sound quite as crazy now?

What is Uphill Skiing?

So, what exactly is uphill skiing? Uphill skiing has a unique equipment setup that allows the user to go into a hiking and skiing mode. The function of these skis allows you to lift your heel and slide your skis up the mountain when hiking. When you are ready to ski down, you switch the “mode” and can then clip in your heel like a typical downhill ski. Uphill skiing is often referred to as “alpine touring” or “skinning” due to the fact that people used to put animal skins on the bottoms of the skis so they would not slide backwards. These days the “skins” are made with a synthetic material that grips the snow and are peeled off when it is time to start the journey downhill.

Learning to uphill ski at the resort can be used as a gateway to start backcountry skiing. Backcountry skiing is any skiing that is done out of bounds of a ski resort. Some incredibly beautiful mountain wilderness, not to mention extreme powder conditions, can be explored with a backcountry skiing setup, but it is incredibly important to learn avalanche safety before attempting to venture out. Check out this article about backcountry skiing to learn a bit more about this extreme type of skiing!

Here’s How to Try it

A great way to see if uphill skiing, or backcountry skiing, is your cup of tea is to give it a try at the Breckenridge Ski Resort. Keep in mind that uphill skiing is only permitted outside of resort operation hours and there are a few things you will need to do before you can get started.

  1. Register online for uphill access parking.
  2. Choose a route at the Breckenridge Ski Resort. Not everything is open to uphill skiers, so it is important to scout out where you are planning to go!
  3. Read Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Guidelines. Best of Breck is not associated with the Breckenridge Ski Resort so always refer to their uphill access guidelines first and foremost for safety and up-to-date information.
  4. Bring a friend. Outside of resort hours there will not be assistance on the mountain in case of injury besides calling 911 for emergency. Having an uphill buddy is good practice for backcountry skiing as well since it is never recommended to go out alone.

Uphill skiing is a great way to explore the outdoors in the wintertime. It can push you to get outside at times you would not normally be, and perhaps eventually, explore new mountains and terrain completely away from the bounds of the resort. So, if you’re looking for a new experience on skis, consider a bit of uphill next time you find yourself in Breckenridge. If you are looking for unbeatable ski in/ski out access for the Breckenridge Ski Resort, check out discounted lodging at the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 and Grand Lodge on Peak 7!