Earn Your Turns


Ryder Bishop

The first tease of winter weather arrived in the first week of November, bringing over an inch of rain into the valley and a little more than three feet of snow in the higher elevations of Logan Canyon. Some Ridgeline students were eager to go and play in the snow at Beaver Mountain prior to its opening date, which still had yet to be announced. 

As a result of the ski resort being closed, individuals at the time had to hike up the mountain if they wanted to ski down it. On their website, Beaver Mountain said that they allow non-motorized uphill travel. Since there was no ski patrol on duty on the mountain during the pre-season, the website warned that people would have to “ski at their own risk” and treat the ski area as if it were “backcountry terrain.”

One method of uphill travel is skin tracking. Skin tracking is used primarily in the backcountry where no chair lifts or tow ropes are present. The “skins” go underneath the skis and are hooked on each end. This allows for skiers to avoid sliding backwards when moving uphill. Skin tracking is described by Sam Altom, a Junior at Ridgeline, as the “easiest” way to get up the mountain. “Some people just hike the mountain in their ski boots, [and it] can take over an hour to get to the top [that way],” he shared. In contrast, Sam further explained that, while skin tracking, it takes only about 30 minutes to get to the top of Harry’s Dream Lift. 

After being asked how many times he had been up to Beaver Mountain to ski this winter, he said that he had only been once. However, he also commented that he would have liked to go up a few more times before the mountain actually opened for the season. 

Last year, Beaver opened once there were around two feet of snow on the slopes. This year, they had already exceeded that amount before opening. In an instagram post, they stated that their main obstacle was their “need for employees.” For that time being, people that still wanted to ski would have to hike and earn their turns.