MOUNTAIN NEWS: Crested Butte plans to charge skinners 

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Crested Butte plans to charge skinners

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — Really, does anybody in a ski town need to be told what "skinning up" means? Maybe 20 or 25 years ago, just when the popularity of free-heel skiing was taking off.

But now, virtually all ski areas in early morning, and some at night, have a ton of people marching up the mountain, most with skins and a few on snowshoes, out to get in a work out. "Earn your turns," is the phrase.

At Crested Butte, there are so many people marching uphill that the resort operator wants to charge them. Ethan Mueller, general manager of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, says that 550 people have picked up free passes that allow them to use the company's trails. In getting the pass, they also agree to abide by the rules.

The ski company now plans to charge non-pass holders $75 annually or $5 per day for the privilege, reports the Crested Butte News. Pass-holders would not be charged extra.

"We don't anticipate making any money as a result but we feel people take it more seriously if they pay something for the access," said Mueller. He added that it's a "numbers situation," meaning that "when there are hundreds of people skinning uphill, that's not something we can just ignore."

The resort must get approval from the Forest Service to impose new rules.

The News also reports that Crested Butte will make a route available to uphill skiers during the day when the lifts are running, when uphilling was previously banned.

In Breckenridge, uphillers were also in the news. Ski area employees say uphillers fail to clean up after their dogs or keep them in control.

"I have witnessed dogs chasing skiers, snowmobiles and snowcats," Breckenridge ski patrol director Kevin Ahern said. "This is an accident waiting to happen. As an avid skinner myself, I would hate to restrict our policy any more or lose the privilege all together."

The ski resort's uphill-access policy requires all dogs to be on a leash or under voice command at all times, notes the Summit Daily News.

Thin slice of mountains keeps Park City healthy

PARK CITY, Utah – Park City is an anomaly among ski towns, with the possible exception of Canmore and Banff, which are just 45 minutes from Calgary. While snuggled in the mountains, many of Park City's residents commute daily to the Salt Lake Valley, just 30 minutes away.

They're so close, separated by the thin but high cordillera of the Wasatch Range, but so different, especially from November to February. During mid-winter, the Salt Lake Valley often congeals in a thick soup of tiny pollutants of size 2.5 microns or smaller, called PM 2.5 by experts. The soot, measuring one-30th the size of a human hair, is a combination of particles from combustion, solvent fumes, and other chemical pollutants.

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