Uphill Snow Travelers Organization, or USTO, is a group of
uphill travel enthusiasts that would like to ensure the safe
development of the fastest growing segment of skiing. USTO is
any form of up hill travel: snowshoeing, split boarding or
skinning. Our goal is to work with ski areas and private landowners
to help create policies that promote safe uphill travel. It is now
time for us to organize our membership, gather ideas and create
effective lines of communication.
Everyone has noted that Killington and Pico ski areas have done
an amazing job this year with snowmaking and grooming making this a
fabulous season. It is extremely important we continue to work
closely with the resort to create a functional policy that provides
safe travel without interfering with mountain operations.
Over the past few years Alpine ski resorts have noticed more and
more uphill travelers on their trails. Ski areas have been trying
to find a way to accommodate these individuals and all have
struggled with creating a common policy of ski safety and balanced
land use. Early this season three uphill enthusiasts were invited
to Killington/Pico Resort to take part in exploring an uphill
policy. We had two very productive meetings in December. What came
from those meetings was designating areas to park (so the they
would know people are on the mountain) and designating routes to go
up Pico and Killington.
We also discussed a forum where people could go to get
information about trails closed, grooming operations and the do's
and don'ts for safe uphill travel at Killington/Pico Resort. This
is where USTO comes in. As this sport grows, it is crucial that we
actively educate new athletes to maintain the record of safety that
is in place.
Unfortunately, do to scheduling difficulties there has not been
a follow-up meeting to discuss the success of this program or the
creation of a formal policy, but it is likely there will be in the
months to come.
In the meantime, it is important for uphill travelers to come
together to establish strong lines of communication to ensure safe
uphill travel. If you are an uphill traveler, please sign up and
join the group. Membership is free. Simply contact
email@example.com or call 802-775-0166 and mention USTO and you
will be added to the information email list. All contact
information will be protected.
Thus far, USTO has approximately 50 members.
Lets get together to be one voice so we can continue to enjoy
the outdoors and support our local resorts.
Mike Miller, owner of Base Camp Outfitters in Killington, Vt.,
is an avid uphill traveler who has spearheaded communications with
Killington Resort and recently founded the USTO group of