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Going up or Down at Deer Valley? You Better Have a Ticket For That

Courtesy of Deer Valley

Deer Valley Resort recently updated its uphill and mountain access policies in response to the increased number of backcountry skiers in the area in recent years.


It’s safe to say it’s common knowledge in the skiing and riding community to never duck a rope or ignore a ‘closed’ sign when you’re at a resort.


But did you know it’s also illegal to cross a rope line into a resort boundary, even if you’re already at the top of the mountain, and even if you have a ticket or a pass? If you do, you’re actually trespassing.


Deer Valley Resort announced updated mountain access and uphill travel policies late last week. The Deer Valley ski patrol’s Chris Erkkila says the updates are in response to increased numbers of backcountry skiers in recent years who have used the area around Guardsman Pass to access the resort, both intentionally and accidentally.


“We’ve run into a few more issues here the last two winters with backcountry users entering into the ski area, sometimes unknowingly, so we’ve had to expand and increase our roped boundary back there and our signage,” Erkkila says. “We’ve had a few interactions with some backcountry users coming into the ski area while we’re doing our avalanche mitigation work in the mornings.”


Erkkila says not only is entering the resort trespassing, it is also a matter of safety, both before and after the resort opens.


Daily avalanche control happens in the morning and patrol not knowing if there are people in the area could have deadly consequences.


The same goes for after the resort closes. If someone enters the resort after a final sweep by patrollers in the evening and they get hurt, Erkkila says patrol can’t easily respond.


“And that’s concerning for us too because, you know, if that person were to get injured or need assistance and somehow we’ve left that area, we’ve swept that area, we’ve moved on to other parts of the resort at the end of the day,” says Erkkila. “There’s nobody left to go help those people and assist them if they need.”


Uphill traffic of any kind is also not allowed at Deer Valley.


With recent investments into the Bonanza Flat area of Guardsman Pass, backcountry traffic has greatly increased over the past few seasons. If you are recreating on public land near Park City you cannot use the trails at Deer Valley or Park City Mountain Resort to ski or ride back down.


It is also trespassing to cross from one resort to another. Even if you have a ticket or pass at both, Erkkila says you’re still trespassing unless you access the resort at the base area just like everyone else.


“Even if you have a pass at both places, it is unlawful to cross that border and go between the two ski areas,” he says. “It’s two different land owners, two different resort operators, and we don’t allow it.” 


Erkkila says although patrollers do not have the ability to issue citations themselves, the Park City Police will be called if a warning and educational talk from ski patrol does not remedy the situation.


A link to Deer Valley’s updated policies can be found here.