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Mountain Policies

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Uphill, Drone, and Off Trail policies for ski terrain usage

Uphill Access Policy
Like all resorts across the ski industry, we are expecting significantly greater demand for uphill access this winter. At Smugglers’, we’re always happy to see people out enjoying the mountain when it is safe to do so. However, in regard to uphill access, it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship between operations staff and uphill travelers due to the high-risk nature of both the work being performed on-hill and the activity of uphill travel.

With equipment in use on trails at any time of day or night, operations staff out on the hill running heavy machinery, and a wide range of weather conditions, safety is a huge concern of ours, whether during a pandemic or not.
Read more about our uphill policy.

Uphill access will remain closed on all mountains until lifts open for the season. Once uphill access is open, routes available for uphill access, the run back down, and the times they are available will be posted on the Snow Reportdaily by 4:00 pm for that night and the following morning. When available, nighttime access will be from 4:30 pm to 10:00 pm, and morning access from 5:30 am to 7:30 am. Morning users must be off the hill by 8:00 am.

The following rules apply to uphill access users:
  • Anyone participating in uphill travel or reaping the benefits thereof, do so at their own risk and assume all liability for their use of the mountain.
  • Please be aware that there are no Resort emergency services available during these times: 4:45 pm - 8:00 am. Call 911 in case of an emergency.
  • Please be aware and respectful of snowmobile and snowcat activity present on the trails throughout these time periods.
  • Please avoid trails with snowmaking or grooming operations underway. Utilize the routes identified for access on the daily snow report. If you do encounter a groomer or snowmobile, please step off the side of the trail until they have passed. This is especially important at night when the snowcat operator’s field of vision is constrained.
  • Robin’s Run, Freefall, Madonna Liftline (above Link), and all closed trails are off-limits as descent routes at all times.
  • Do not approach winch cat operations under any circumstances. They can have over 2500’ of high-tension cable strung out that is impossible to see and very dangerous to be around. These areas are OFF-LIMITS!
  • Always wear reflective clothing and use a headlamp.
  • Uphill access is not allowed during lift operating hours. Those hours are 8:00 am - 4:30 pm. You must be off the hill by 8:00 am.
  • No dogs, cats, potbellied pigs, or other pets allowed. Sloths are cute and all, but again, leave them at home.
  • If you pack it in, please pack it out. Don’t leave litter behind.
  • Parking is available in Lot 3 ONLY. Please don’t park at the Base Lodge, Lot 1, or the Patrol Chalet.
  • Do not plan on using mountaintop warming huts during the pandemic. Ski Patrol has to populate these facilities early in the morning and these buildings are not open to the public.
  • Smugglers’ Notch employees may monitor your behavior in the name of safety and compliance. Failure to abide by the guidelines may be grounds for revocation of Resort access privileges.

We hope to have plenty of terrain available for the uphill access user to experience this winter while eliminating the unsafe encounters we have experienced in the past. You can expect to see more flexibility in what is available at night for routes on Madonna and Sterling than in the past. Morse will generally be available at night but not often in the morning. At this time, we are still working to identify an uphill route that can be safely used during lift operating hours due to the narrow and winding nature of our trails.

Thank you for your cooperation and let’s all have a great winter!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
Eli Moore
Director, Smugglers' Ski Patrol

Mike McAdoo
Director, Mountain Operations
Drone Usage Policy
The use of drones or radio controlled model aircraft (currently considered Unmanned Aerial Systems or UAS) for photography or other use is prohibited at Smugglers' Notch Resort.
Off Trail Policy
Wooded areas between named trails and glades are not marked in any way, are not patrolled, and have no skier/snowboarder services. If you decide to ski or snowboard in wooded areas, within the ski area boundary, you are solely responsible for yourself. You should be an expert skier/snowboarder and you should stay in groups of three or more. Do not ski or snowboard on or across closed trails.
Private Snowmobiles are not allowed on our ski trails.
Much of the land Smugglers' trails are located on is owned by the State of Vermont. The lease held by Smugglers' Notch Management Company that permits operation of skiing services stipulates that Smugglers' is responsible and liable for the maintenance and safety of the mountain at all times. The lease gives resort officials the ability to grant, limit, or terminate property use at any time. Smugglers' Notch Management requests that those enjoying our terrain police their own behavior and abide by the following rules. Failure to abide by this code of conduct will result in more restrictive policies.
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