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People have enjoyed skiing since the beginning of time. Long before the chairlift was invented, people would walk uphill and enjoy fresh turns back down their favorite slopes. Now uphill skiing, commonly referred to as alpine touring or skinning, is back and more popular than ever.
Skinning is a fantastic way to experience the mountains, and a great way to get exercise during the winter. Big Sky Resort updated their uphill ski traffic policy in 2020. It is below.
Uphill travel is allowed on the following designated routes during designated times, conditions permitting. All individuals, including Alpine Touring (AT) skiers accessing Big Sky Resort ski terrain are required to have a valid lift ticket or season ski pass.
Uphill access of any kind is prohibited while the resort is closed, outside designated hours, and during off-season. Uphill travelers are subject to and must obey all resort policies and Montana Code including the Skier Responsibility Code and "Duties of a Skier" available here or at the Mountain Services Desk located in the Big Sky Mountain Village.
Be alert for other skiers and resort equipment at all times. Be aware of limited sight lines and opposing traffic. Make yourself as visible as possible to downhill traffic. Dogs are not allowed.
Check the Big Sky Resort website and conditions report for information before alpine touring. If you are unsure of your route, do not proceed and contact Big Sky Resort for more information.
Hiking & skinning access is accessible from the top of the Dakota Lift to the Yeti Traverse on the south side of Lone Peak. A bootpack, and when possible, a skin track, will be open on the looker’s left of Liberty Bowl. Enter through the gate at the top of Dakota. The route ends at the Yeti Traverse, with an area to transition to downhill gear.
The bootpack will be open when weather and conditions permit; check the Trail Status page for daily information. The bootpack closes with the Dakota lift. Hikers and skinners must start uphill travel by 2:45 p.m. Must have a valid pass or lift ticket media, but a pass with Tram access is not required.
Uphill access is permitted on Hangmans on Andesite Mountain from 6 a.m. - 8 a.m., when weather and conditions permit. Check the Trail Status page for daily information. Skiers and riders will start in the base area and can skin up using the entire width of Hangman’s trail to properly distance. The only downhill route is on Hangmans. At 8 a.m., guests must stop travel, regardless of location, and transition to downhill travel.
Early Morning Uphill Access is free with a valid Big Sky Resort pass or ticket media. An Uphill Access-only Sky Card is available for purchase at Mountain Services for $5 for season-long access. All passholders must view and agree to the Season Pass Agreement. Other resort policies apply.
It is strongly recommended that guests travel uphill with a headlamp in the morning so that they can see the trail, and others can see them on the trail. The base area is lit, but once guests head uphill, they will need to bring their own light. Make yourself as visible as possible and wear bright clothing.