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Old 01-10-2006   #11
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
depends on BC access through USFS gate

It's actually very simple.....
If you access the backcountry via a USFS access gate (many CO ski areas are on national forest land), and hold a valid day pass or annual ski pass, then you are allowed to be in the BC. You MUST access the BC through these gates. If you duck a rope to get to the BC....then that is illegal and a violation of the skier safety act. In Summit County that fine can be $300. You are allowed to ski through these gates......but then must continue outside the ski area. You can then get to a road or gulch and get a ride back to that base area. From there you can get back on the lift (of the area you left earlier via USFS access gate). You can do this as many times as you want. The biggest point here to explain is that you CAN NOT get to the BC via a ski area unless these gates exist. If they don't exist and you duck ropes or closures....then you are in violation of the skier safety act.

To make this story even longer....if you get caught out of bounds near a boundry by patrol or sheriff, you best hope you went through a gate.....or hope that the person who catches you....didn't see you duck rope. You also have to make sure that USFS gates are present. If you are at an area that doesn't have them...then you are SOL.

Thems tha rules!!!

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Old 01-10-2006   #12
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 206
I guess they would have to see you duck the ropes otherwise they would have to follow your tracks all the way uphill to determine where you came from. I would say your attitude upon "apprehension" would make a difference as well, however I have seen a couple instances over the years where a patroller was off mark, not often, but I have seen it. I also guess that raising the fine wouldn't make a difference unless they had signs posted every 50ft down the hill because the typical violators most likely don't know the fine exists in the first place.

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Old 01-10-2006   #13
whip's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 516

I skinned up Alpental on Snoqualmie Pass a few weeks ago driving home from WA. I was about 2/3 of the way up and asked a patroller what he thought was the most judicious route to the summit. Next thing I know
I'm being asked to head down the mtn even though it's all National Forest.
Real buzz killer as it was a beautiful sunrise and ski up to that point. I've worked for a few ski patrols and know quite a few patrollers. I felt it was pretty bogus but didn't feel like engaging in an argument.
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 01-11-2006   #14
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1
Out-of-bounds vs. backcountry - where are the bounds?

This topic brings up a related issue - where are the boundaries and which boundaries count. As someone wroter earlier, not all boundaries from the groomed and patrolled areas are clearly indicated all the time.

Also, not all areas that a resort or operation may have control over under a current lease in a specific national forest may currently be open. For instance, there may be a rope set up marking the "Ski Area Boundary", but 200 acres outside the rope may be part of a lease agreement for a ski area for future expansion, and something the ski area operations negotiate with each new lease.

If I remain outside of the ski area boundary as a backcountry skier, having never purchased a lift ticket, but I wander into an area that is controlled by or related to a ski area lease, am I trespassing? Am I required to obey the ski area rules in this area, even if, as a backcountry skier, I may not be aware of such a buffer zone if signs aren't posted?

If this is the case, I think many ski areas in Colorado, and some in New Mexico, are going to have to do a much more extensive posting of the actual boundaries and limits if they expect to do a lot more enforcement of out-of-bounds rules. I also suspect that such rules would have to be posted for backcountry skiers, since most ski areas only make these rules available to those who purchase a lift ticket (usually on the back of the ticket which nobody reads anyway). Backcountry skiers coming from an out-of-bounds area into a ski run may not realize they have become subject to the out-of-bounds rules once they are in-bounds, if that is the case.

I think this whole issue is going to have to be clarified a bit.
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Old 01-12-2006   #15
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
Here is some good reading material on the subject from Coulior Magazine, written by an attorney:

Are "Out of Bounds" laws Out of Bounds?

Y'know what we do to poachers...boy?
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Old 01-27-2006   #16
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,471
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Tellut and mikeski, I'd be interested to know where you think the Keystone boundry is not marked. The area that the idiot spent time in is marked with signs every 100 ft that say "ski area boundry". That being said under the CO skier safety act, it is the duty of the rider to know which trails are open/closed and where the ski area boundry is. If you have questions about it, feel free to drop into patrol headquaters in the base of the Summit House to get a heads up.
Whip, in CO if you skin up outside the boundry and don't use the lifts you can ski pretty much where ever you want. However, the laws may be different in WA. Furthermore, you are also allowed to skin up resort trails at any time and not buy a pass, as long as you don't use any lifts. If caught using lifts the penalties are generally severe and start with theft of services (much worse than $300). I would recommend checking with patrol depending on where you plan on skiing though, because there could be winch cats (death) or avi bombing (death).

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