Before there were lifts, there were rope tows and before rope tows, people hiked to snow covered mountain tops to earn their turns. For many years, people have climbed Saddleback to take in the spectacular views and make nice turns down the natural snow pack. Saddleback supports the community of skiers and riders that choose manpowered fun and winter exploration.
What is Uphill Travel?
Uphill travel, also known as skinning or alpine touring, is climbing up a mountain with skis, skins, boots on your feet and poles in your hands. The equipment set up differs from the normal downhill alpine setup. While skis do not need to be touring specific, we recommend a light ski. Bindings are specialized alpine touring that has two modes, one for skiing with a locked down heel and the other for uphill travel where an unlocked heel allows for an easy walking stride. Boots have a walk mode or adjustable cuff that can be locked for skiing and unlocked for walking. Lastly the climbing skins are applied to the bottom of the skis to use for traction on the ascent. These skins are removed once you reach your destination and start your transition into the decent.
Where to Uphill?
To minimize uphill and downhill traffic conflicts and maximize the natural joys of winter travel in the Maine outdoors, Saddleback has its very own dedicated uphill route. Outlined in yellow on the trail map, this single track trail departs from the base lodge and maneuvers through the wooded terrain on the western slopes of Saddleback. It leads to the top of the Kenebago chair to reach our most advance terrain while also giving travelers the option to dip out early, lower on the mountain, if you so choose.
Where to Rent Gear?
The Saddleback Rental Shop carries complete uphill alpine and split board setup rentals. A basic alpine touring set up includes: skis or a split board, boots, bindings, a pair of skins sized to the skis, adjustable length ski poles.
How Much Are Uphill Passes?
Passes will be $15 for a day pass. You can purchase a day pass here. If you are a season passholder, uphill access is included. Did you know Saddleback is now a member of Uphill New England? Uphill New England is a collective pass that offers uphill access at Saddleback and 11 other resorts across New England. Learn more.