December 14, 2012

Recent CBMR Uphill Policy Meeting Notes

USSMA - CB'12 -5

Around 30 uphillers, dogs, former and current CBMR employees all met yesterday, Wednesday morning, after getting their local Camp 4 Coffee in The Lodge at Mountaineer Square to discuss the evolution of uphill travel at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and where it will be heading into 2013 as the US Forrest Service has asked CBMR to finalize their policies.

CBMR’s General Manager Ethan Mueller started the meeting by detailing the change in use at the resort over the past couple of years with an overall increase of people and dogs. Having climbed the mountain that morning he expressed his excitement about uphill travel and having the ability to formalize the activity. Ethan’s biggest concerns are safety related. Avalanches, dogs, and the uphill/downhill traffic interaction are the largest concerns.

CBMR’s Resort Planning and Development Director John Sale, spoke on the need to look at routing and organizing the traffic into different user groups. Those with or without dogs and those who would like uphill traffic allowed while the lifts are running. Options with Columbine Hill, Houston, Paradise Bowl, and Painter Boy are all on the table as uphill travel routes.

CBMR’s Snow Safety Director Frank Coffey discussed his concerns about avalanche control work and close calls. He mentioned that there were only a couple days of the year where an uphiller will deal with avalanche control when climbing on the mountain, but uphillers must be aware of the red light above warming house hill when climbing in the early morning. His most recent pressing concern are the dogs. One of his ski patrollers was recently bitten and this is not the first instance of harassment by canines.

CBMR’s Assistant Manager Mark Voegeli, expressed his concerns about dogs and his most recent dangerous encounter with a coworkers dog. He further detailed the dangerous machinery with regard to the winch cat, snowmobiles, and snowmaking hoses that are on the mountain when the lifts are not running. He has now implemented a 24-hour safety operations stance as there are folks all over the mountain all times of the day.

Good news, though as CBMR understands that this is an evolving policy and that there needs to be some action with an all day uphill use with dog free and dog friendly uphill routes. There is also a need to self-police and restructure the uphill policy. CBMR has expressed openness to try and formalize a policy where all user groups can be happy while using the mountain and Snodgrass.

Stay tuned and if you have any comments on this issues please lets us know

About the Author

4. Seth Tucker
Seth Tucker has called Crested Butte home for some time learning the skills to explore the West Elk Mountains, whether it be mountain biking single track, hiking peaks or enjoying backcountry powder. Get out there and enjoy your mountain surroundings!