Aspen Logo
Upholding at Buttermilk

Uphilling Guide

Aspen Snowmass is one of the most uphilling friendly ski resorts in North America. Learn more about routes, clinics, and events with our uphill guide.
Upholding at Buttermilk
mountain icon

Before you head out for an uphill lap, check the Aspen Snowmass App to find out whether your desired route is open for the day. Learn more below.

Four Mountains to Uphill

Uphilling is a key ingredient to the Roaring Fork Valley’s rich, athletic culture, and Aspen Snowmass has offered skiers and riders access to uphill travel across its four mountains longer than most ski resorts.

For winter enthusiasts who just can't seem to get enough time on the slopes and want a unique on-mountain experience, uphilling is a great workout with a sweet reward. Morning skins up Buttermilk, moonlit tours up Aspen Mountain or Highlands, afternoons spent steadily climbing Snowmass—the peaceful moments of sliding up the hillside, taking in the views, and earning your snowy turns back down to the base are hard to beat.

Wildlife update: We are fortunate to share our lands with some amazing wildlife. We live in bear and moose country and we will sometimes cross paths with these wild creatures. For the safety of all, people and animals, please do not approach these animals to get a picture or video or for any other reason. Give them space and enjoy viewing them from a distance.

What is Uphilling?

Uphilling, also referred to as alpine touring” or “skinning,” is the act of traversing up a mountain on skis or a split board with specialized equipment including skins (the sticky coverings on the bottom of touring skis that prevent them from slipping on the snow) and specialized alpine touring bindings and compatible boots.

Where is Uphilling Allowed?

All four mountains at Aspen Snowmass accommodate uphill travel, but an uphill pass is required and uphillers are asked to follow the designated routes to ensure safety as well as a scenic and enjoyable route to the top. Learn more on each mountain's uphill page and routes below.

Know before you go: We will occasionally call for temporary closures for safety reasons, crowd-control, and snow mitigation, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with this information.

Uphilling Policies

Uphill policies have been updated for the 2022–2023 season and vary by mountain. Click on each mountain's uphill policies below and view the full list of policies for each mountain before you  head out on the hill.

Aspen Snowmass app
Pro Tip: Check Routes with the Aspen Snowmass App

Before you head out for an uphill lap, check the Aspen Snowmass App to find out whether your desired route is open for the day. During operating hours, the designated uphilling routes will be treated much like ski trails, with open or closed sign signaling if access is available at that time. You can check the status in the app under Mountains >Select Your Mountain>Groom Report> Uphill Routes. "O" indicates your route is open. Climb on!

Download The Aspen Snowmass App

Uphilling Routes

Distance, vertical climb, and difficulty vary by mountain and by route. Know before you go!


  • Sam's Knob Route | Fanny Hill to TOV headwall/Dawdler to Lower Velvet Falls to Upper Velvet Falls to midstation of Village Express Lift to Coney Glade Trail to Banzai Ridge to Sam’s Knob | 2,173 feet of elevation gain
  • Elk Camp Route | Base Village to Funnel to Elk Camp Restaurant: 1,368 feet of elevation gain
  • Two Creeks Route | Cascade to top of Funnel around Causeway to Elk Camp Restaurant: 1,655 feet of elevation gain
  • High Alpine Route | Fanny Hill to McNamara Ridge to Coffee Pot to High Alpine Restaurant: 2,086 feet of elevation gain

Aspen Mountain

  • Aspen Mountain Uphill Route | The Little Nell to Bingo Slot to Spar Gulch to Deer Park to Silver Bell to Sundeck Restaurant: 3,267 feet of elevation gain

Aspen Highlands

  • Aspen Highlands Lower Route | Jerome Bowl to Park Avenue to Memory Lane to Merry Go Round Restaurant (MGR): 1,950 feet in elevation gain. Please note: If you arrive at MGR prior to 8:30am, you may continue up the route to the top of Loge if you wish. If you are not to MGR before 8:30, uphilling access is not allowed beyond MGR
  • Aspen Highlands Upper Route | Complete the lower route and continue up to the top of Loge Peak chairlift: 3,635 total feet of elevation gain from base


  • Main Buttermilk Route | Buttermilk Base to Columbine to Midway to Ridge Trail to Cliffhouse Restaurant: 1,842 feet of elevation gain
  • Tiehack Route | Eagle Hill to Ptarmigan to Cliffhouse Restaurant: 1,683 feet of elevation gain
  • West Buttermilk Route | Teaser to the bridge, under the bridge, and up to Ridge Trail to CIiffhouse Restaurant: 1,027 feet of elevation gain

Uphilling Events

The uphilling community has grown immensely in the last decade, and the sport of ski mountaineering will be included in the 2026 Winter Olympic Games for the first time ever.  Whether you're a novice, casual uphiller, or a competitive endurance athlete, Aspen Snowmass offers a wide range of uphilling events. 

Uphilling Lessons

Uphill Private Lesson

Arrange for an Uphill Private Lesson (inbounds) with one of our expert uphill Pros and discover the sport at your own pace. Instructors will share tips and proper use for: boot/binding interface, clothing/layering, hydration and nutrition for uphill fitness, putting skins on/off the skis, walking uphill at a reasonable pace, proper routes, etiquette and transitioning to downhill mode. Advance uphill private lesson reservation and payment are required.

Learn more about our Private Lessons here.

Uphill Locals Clinic

This one-day uphill clinic is designed to introduce participants to the joy of experiencing the mountain from the bottom up! Guides will share tips and proper use for: boot/binding interface, clothing/layering, hydration and nutrition for uphill fitness, putting skins on/off the skis or splitboards, walking uphill at a reasonable pace, proper routes and ski area rules for up-hill traffic, transitioning to downhill mode, and enjoying the ski or ride down!

Dates: December 16, January 5, February 2, March 2
Location: Buttermilk / Tiehack, please meet at 10am

Learn about our Locals Clinics here.

More on Uphilling

Colorado Search & Rescue

While Pitkin County does not charge for search and rescue, you may want to consider purchasing a Colorado Search and Rescue Card to support Mountain Rescue Teams across the high country. The card reimburses teams for costs incurred in searches and rescues across the State of Coloradowhich is worth considering if you plan to venture into the backcountry. Cards are $3 for one year or $12 for five years. Aspen Skiing Company supports Colorado Search and Rescue by donating $10 of every Uphill Pass sold.

Learn more