Everything You Need to Know About Uphilling at CBMR

Posted on Nov. 10, 2023
In the darkness of the late night and early morning hours, dedicated ski and snowboard enthusiasts strap on their gear to experience the magic of resort skiing in an entirely new way. Uphilling -- also called skinning or Alpine touring—is the act of climbing up the mountain with specialized gear before skiing or riding back down, as opposed to riding the chairlift. Because uphill travel is a necessary part of backcountry skiing, uphilling at the resort by moonlight is a popular way to practice this skill and gain endurance. Plus, it’s a great workout!

Crested Butte Mountain Resort is proud to offer free uphill access, allowing adventure-seekers to take advantage of the mountain outside typical operating hours and enjoy the views in solitude. Before you grab your skins and start climbing, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.
Crested Butte Uphill Use Map
1. Make sure uphill travel is open

You must call the Uphill Access Hotline at 970-349-2345 to see if uphill access is open that day before heading to the mountain. Crested Butte Ski Patrol determines the status of uphill access and updates the hotline by 4:00 pm each day during the winter season. When open, uphill travel is allowed only on the designated route from 4:30 pm to 8:45 am.

Uphill access may close for a variety of reasons -- including weather, avalanche mitigation work, or other safety concerns. Avalanche mitigation work may be necessary following any amount of new snow or wind. When uphill access is closed, a red light will be deployed at the base of Red Lady Express as well as the base of Silver Queen Express. Guests can see the lights via our base area webcams. Please note that there is no longer be a light on tower 3 of Red Lady Express.

Uphill access is closed pre-season due to active snowmaking and grooming operations. It is closed post-season due to active mountain operations such as road plowing. Terrain park usage is prohibited during uphill access hours. Pets are not allowed on the mountain at any time.

2. Follow the designated route

All uphill users are required to stay on the designated uphill route, obey all signage, and be aware of trail closures and other operational considerations. Under certain circumstances, especially during early season, uphill travel is only open to the junction of the Peanut and Lower Keystone trails, about halfway up the route. There will be signage to indicate this stopping point. Do not go past this point.

When the upper mountain is open, the uphill skinning route ends at the top of Paradise Bowl. Look out for signs indicating this stopping point and abide by them. No uphill access of any kind is permitted beyond Paradise Bowl due to active mountain operations in progress, including winch cat operations. 


Winch cat grooming involves attaching a high-tension cable to a snowcat and stretching it across the full length of a ski run to create a “corduroy” effect on steep terrain. For the safety of our guests and team members, uphill travelers should never access any area where winch cat operations are taking place. Uphill access users who are seen in these areas will be penalized under the resort’s closed terrain policy and may be charged with a trespassing violation.

The designated downhill travel route is the same as the uphill route: Paradise Bowl > Yellow Brick Road > Upper Park > Lower Keystone > Warming House Hill. Make sure to stay on this path so snowmobile and snowcat operators can move freely about the resort to prepare and maintain the mountain for the following day.

3. Stay alert

Maintaining the resort for our guests to enjoy is an around-the-clock job, which means there is equipment moving around the mountain at all hours, as well as fellow skiers. Uphill travelers must stay alert and be aware of their surroundings. Avoid skiing over snowmaking hoses or hydrants and give a wide berth to snowmobiles and snowcat operators. Be on the lookout for other skiers and riders approaching from above or below.

4. Make sure you have the proper gear

Because uphill travel at CBMR occurs in the overnight hours, being visible is one of the most important ways to stay safe. Headlamps are required to be turned at all times while on the mountain during uphill access hours. During these times, stay in the center of the trail for best visibility. Before and after daylight hours, reflective clothing is also highly recommended.

When uphill access is closed, it is for your safety and the safety of our staff. Violating these closures, uphilling during normal operating hours, or skinning outside of designated areas may result in the removal of your ski pass. Check out our uphill access policy to learn more.

This program has been at CBMR for a long time, and we know it is a great experience for our community. Please help us to keep it by abiding by all policies and procedures and encouraging others to do so as well.

Thank you in advance for your compliance and we will see you out on the mountain!