As Partners in Recreation and with approval from the US Forest Service, Red Lodge Mountain’s Uphill Travel Policy allows access for uphill travelers outside of operational hours. Across the country, increasing uphill traffic within ski area boundaries has driven the implementation of Uphill Policies. While uphill travel within ski area boundaries may seem innocuous, it poses significant safety concerns for uphill and downhill recreationalists, ski area operations, and ski area staff. For this reason, uphill travel is not permitted in any fashion at many ski areas. Red Lodge Mountain’s policy reflects our commitment to seek a balance between mitigating the safety concerns of uphill travel as a recreational user within the downhill ski area/Special Use Permit area with the reasonable needs of operating a sustainable and successful alpine ski area, for which we have been granted a Special Use Permit from the US Forest Service.
Red Lodge Mountain continues to work closely with the Beartooth Ranger District, Custer National Forest, and local organizations in order to build awareness and provide public education regarding uphill travel and recreational uses. Our goal is to find a reasonable balance between and among user groups who share a common interest in recreating within the Red Lodge Mountain Special Permit area in a safe, non-confrontational and sustainable manner.
Montana Ski Statutes
The legislature finds that skiing is a major recreational sport and a major industry in the state and recognizes that among the attractions of the sport are the inherent dangers and risks of skiing. The state has a legitimate interest in maintaining the economic viability of the ski industry by discouraging claims based on damages resulting from the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, defining the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, and establishing the duties of skiers and ski area operators.
- Updated information can also be found on the Snow Phone at 406-425-3334 or on our daily Snow Report.
- When the Ski Patrol is conducting early-morning avalanche control work, flashing signs will be posted in the base area and at the entrance gate. This indicates that uphill travel is prohibited.
- Use of all Terrain Parks is prohibited outside of normal operating hours.
- Before and after daylight hours, reflective clothing is recommended.
- Use of RLM Hancock Hut (Summit Ski Patrol Station) requires advanced permission for overnight use. If you plan to stay and ski, you must contact RLM management to verify there will be no conflicting mountain operations that could compromise the safety of employees or guests.
Red Lodge Mountain Policy – Pre/Post Season
The ski area is an un-controlled dispersed recreation opportunity before and after the operating season of the ski area. Public using the ski area at this time assume all risks for their activities including route selection, stability analysis, and all other activities. Ski area improvements including rails, pipes, jumps, etc. are prohibited from use.
Safety considerations, maintenance or operational requirements, grooming operations, snowmaking operations, special events, avalanche hazard mitigation work, wildlife or resource considerations, or construction, may cause public risk management issues to exist. To protect the public from potential hazards that may exist from time to time, prior to the opening of the ski season, the ski area is authorized to close areas subject to those potential hazards and to post signs at uphill access points closing those areas.
Red Lodge Mountain Policy – During the Season & During Operating Hours
Uphill travel by way of foot, snowshoes, splitboard, or skis is not permissible between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Users will need to be descending at 9:00 a.m. Exclusions may apply for unusual circumstances. These exclusions may include but are not limited to special events, maintenance, etc.
Red Lodge Mountain Policy – During the Season & Outside Operating Hours
Uphill travel is permissible between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. Outside of operating hours, there may be circumstances in which the ski area may eliminate uphill traffic or limit or restrict uphill traffic by designating specific times or days or routes that will be available for such use. These circumstances might include safety, maintenance or operational needs, grooming operations, snowmaking operations, special events, avalanche hazard mitigation work, or wildlife or resource considerations, among others. The ski area is authorized, with Forest Service pre-approval, to perform any or all of these actions as deemed reasonable and necessary by the ski area.
Required Uphill Routes (see RLM Trail Map):
- To Summit-Showoff Alley to Chicken Trail to Lazy M
- To Mid-mountain- Showoff Alley to Auto Bahn to Turnpike
Prohibited Uphill and Downhill Routes due to possible winching operations (see RLM Trail Map):
- Upper & Lower Limited
- Pine Ridge Face
- Face of M
It is preferred that dogs be left at home for their safety. Should they participate, dogs must be on a leash or kept under verbal control and owners must clean up all solid waste, failure to do so may result in removal of Uphill Use privileges.
It is recommended that all dogs wear a turned-on collar headlight or reflective collar while on-mountain.
Dogs are not permitted on-mountain from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Avalanche Danger and Explosives
Avalanche danger may exist at any time along many of the uphill routes. Following ANY amount of new snow, and possibly wind, the Ski Patrol may be conducting avalanche control work, including the use of explosives.
Avalanche control updates will be posted on Red Lodge Mountain’s Snow Report at 5 a.m.
When the Ski Patrol is conducting early morning avalanche control work, flashing signs will be posted in the base area and at the entrance gate. This indicates that UPHILL TRAVEL IS PROHIBITED.
Any other specific closures may be noted on the Snow Report at 5 a.m.
- Participants must also beware of, and avoid mountain hazards. These include, but are not limited to:
- Snowmaking hoses and power cables – Danger, high pressure! High voltage! Do not ski over hoses or power lines!
- Snowmaking guns– Do not ski on runs with operating snow making equipment!
- Snowmobiles – Stay to the edge, wear reflective clothing and don’t get hit!
- Snow Cat grooming – Give cats a wide berth and make yourself visible to operators, do not assume they see you!
- Winch Cat operations – Dangerous cable! Under no circumstances may anyone access any area on RLM where winch cat operations are taking place. Such work will involve cables stretched tightly across the terrain and is very dangerous. Skiing into them could result in serious injury or death.
- Respect strobe lights and signage.
Other hazard areas, operations or conditions may exist at any time on-mountain.
UPHILL TRAVEL PROTOCOL
- Yield and stay clear of ski area machinery, i.e. grooming machines, snowmobiles and snowmaking equipment. When encountering winch operations, re-routing is required (see Prohibited Uphill Routes).
- Mountain users should use reflective clothing, headlamps, and blinking lights when possible. Animals should have blinking lights when possible.
- Adhere to Trail Closures. No skier except a member of the ski patrol or employee of the Forest Service, a Sheriff, or a ski area operator in the course of his employment, shall enter or go upon any closed area.
- Uphill travel is prohibited when Avalanche Control work is taking place.
- If you pack it in, please pack it out. Help us keep the Forest clean for future users.
All participants within the permit boundary are considered skiers and are subject to Montana Skier Statute Title 23, Sec. 4, Ch. 346, 23-2-736 Duties of Skier.