Sugar Bowl announced today that the era of the free uphill ski pass is over effective immediately. According to a press release issued Saturday, January 18th, 2014, Sugar Bowl has taken it in the shorts regarding costs associated with uphiller travelers who apparently did not fully comply with terms they agreed to abide by.
From a press release issued Saturday afternoon:
“The recent surge in popularity has caused numerous on-mountain operational issues, all at a cost to the resort, be it signage, labor, stoppage and/or delays in grooming, ski patrol or other. As such, effective immediately, but not retroactive, all Uphill Access Travel Passes at Sugar Bowl will cost $149. The exception to this new policy is that Sugar Bowl season passholders (Unrestricted, Slightly Restricted, Summit Sunday, Midweek, and/or Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge Combo) will still receive their Uphill Travel Passes free of charge. All other users, $149 for your uphill travel pass and access to the mountain. Again, uphill passholders who already have their pass do not have to pay the $149, only new uphill passes for those who don’t already have a Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge season pass will pay moving forward.
“Please remember and obey these very important rules!
- Travel in single file form at all times
- Respect all closures, warning signs and ropes
- No uphill travel is allowed during avalanche control work, or while winch cats are working
- Stay at least 100 yards away from all snowcats, snowmobiles, winch cables and snowmaking guns
- During operating hours stay to the sides of the trails; pre and post operating hours stay in the middle of the runs
- Dogs must be on leashes at all times
- Headlamps are required pre and post operating hours
- Stay on designated trails only
- Uphill travelers must have visible uphill pass on at all times
- Uphill travelers assume all risk
- Pass is not valid on Royal Gorge XC Trails
- No snowbikes are allowed on the mountain
“We hope this uphill pass can remain a safe and viable program for all to enjoy, but we need everyone involved to keep safety in mind at all times. There are numerous hazards on the mountain at any given time…please practice common sense and obey all rules & regulations.
“Ultimately, management reserves the right to restrict uphill travel at any time, to any users, for any reason. This program will be reviewed at the end of the season for consideration moving forward, so please be smart and please be safe out there!”
For those who I prodded to get their free uphill pass, and didn’t, I can’t say I told you so because I wasn’t expecting a change in the cost, but it seems the early bird gets the worm. If you have a Sugar Bowl pass for riding the lifts already, you can still get an uphill pass for free. Just sign the waiver, obey the terms and conditions, and enjoy a great workout skinning to the top of some of the best maintained in-bounds slopes in the Tahoe area for this year.
To everyone else, time to pony up or play by the old rules. If the former, you can register for your uphill pass at the special tickets office in the Judah Lodge. For those who are counting your pennies and think $149 is too rich for your wallet, keep your skin tracks outside the boundary and if you venture in-bounds, don’t be getting self righteous about your “right” to trespass on land that Sugar Bowl leases from the USFS. In other words, be respectful of Sugar Bowls property and don’t act like a jerk. For those of us who have been enjoying our uphill pass, sounds like a few of us need to review the rules and get in line or we risk loosing the privilege we’ve been enjoying for a few decades now.