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This policy has been written and agreed to by the Coconino National Forest and the Arizona Snowbowl to provide safe winter access for backcountry skiers and snowboarders through the Arizona Snowbowl Special Use Permit area to the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. The Coconino National Forest and Arizona Snowbowl recognize the increase in popularity of backcountry skiing and snowboarding and that it is a legitimate use of National Forest lands. In order to ensure the safety of recreationists and Arizona Snowbowl employees, as well as proper ski area management, it is essential that rules of use be established and followed.
Potential safety issues within the ski area exist between uphill skiers and three major ski area slope maintenance operations. These are: general trail grooming, winch grooming, and avalanche control. Additionally, those who access the ski area outside of ski area during operating hours and/or without a trail and lift pass have sole responsibility for themselves and their actions. Therefore, the following rules have been established.
Those skiers traveling within the ski area before or after ski area operating hours must maintain a minimum distance of 50 feet from any snowcat or other grooming machine.
Those skiers traveling within the ski area before or after ski area operating hours are not allowed on any trail where winch grooming operations are taking place. Trails will be marked closed at the top and bottom when such operations are underway (36 CFR 261.53e).
On avalanche control days no access is allowed in the upper bowl areas above Midway Catwalk until avalanche control is finished. Signs will be placed at the ski area entrance gate and at the bottom of Sundance trail at Midway indicating that avalanche control is underway and that the area is closed (36 CFR 261.53e). Upper mountain access will only be allowed via the midway catwalk, lift line or the south side trails (Southern Belle, Meadows, Ridge).
During operating hours uphill access is only allowed to those traveling through the ski area and into the unpatrolled backcountry beyond. During operating hours uphill access is not allowed for those wishing to use only the ski area trails for downhill travel, as this is theft of services under State law. All uphill travelers do so at their own risk. All travelers using the ski area lands outside of ski area operating hours also do so at their own risk.
As always, those entering the Kachina Peaks Wilderness from Arizona Snowbowl or Snowbowl Road during winter operations must obtain a backcountry permit from the Coconino National Forest. Permits are available at the Peaks and Mormon Lake Ranger District offices and at the Agassiz Lodge on Saturday and Sunday mornings 9:00 - 11:30 AM. This permit is required for your safety and to raise awareness of the winter backcountry and avalanche dangers within the Kachina Peaks Wilderness.