- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2016

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Skiers looking for new thrills are heading to ski resorts after dark, filling parking lots and climbing ski runs after the sun goes down.

It’s all part of a sport called “uphilling,” and it’s seeing a big surge in popularity

At Sunlight Ski Resort near Glenwood Springs, skiers flock to the parking lots after the resort closes for the day, using skis, snowshoes and other equipment that has been adapted to uphill climbing in snow.

“I’ve been coming up here to do this for 19 years,” said snowboarder Darin Binion of Carbondale. “I remember that hardly anyone else was around doing this kind of thing back then.”

In addition to Aspen Skiing Co.’s four mountain ski areas, Sunlight has helped make the valley an uphillers’ destination, with the support of ski areas, compared with other areas of the country that have limited or even prohibited uphill skiing.

“We are obviously big fans of people simply having fun in the snow,” said Troy Hawks, Sunlight marketing and sales director. “There is a passion for this activity right now, and we no doubt want to see people out there going up, going down, sliding around and just enjoying themselves.”

Assistant General Manager Tom Hays remembers when the sport was not quite so common, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported (http://tinyurl.com/hqqzosa).

“Back in 2006 Sunlight hosted a 24-hour endurance race that was pretty brutal - we had people skinning up and skiing down the mountain as many times as they could in one day,” he said. “People were excited, and around that time they began training and becoming interested in the sport - I think that’s when uphilling and ski mountaineering really started to catch on here.”

Hays said the resort set rules to make safety a priority, including requirements to avoid ski grooming and other equipment after dark.

“First we ask that people get a hiker’s pass - it’s free of charge, and includes a map of the recommended route,” he said. “We need people to stick to the side of the trail near treeline, especially after dark, and always remember that downhill skiers have right-of-way.”

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Information from: Post Independent, http://www.postindependent.com/

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