Three-day symposium in Aspen will explore building off uphilling phenomena
Representatives of outdoor recreation companies and local governments will convene in Aspen for three days starting Sunday to discuss the “uphilling” phenomena and its potential to grow more.
The symposium called the Aspen Ascent is part of Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron’s vision of how to tap the passion for uphilling as a way to boost and diversify the economy. There has been a surge in popularity over the past decade or so in people using climbing skins on skis or using snowshoes and other specialized gear to ascend ski slopes or backcountry trails. Skiers and snowboarders “earn their turns” by walking up rather than taking a chairlift.
Skadron, an avid uphiller himself, made it a goal a couple of years ago to develop the concept further for Aspen.
“Since the very beginning of setting this uphill economy goal for the city of Aspen, I have been focused on how mountain towns such as ours can diversify and grow its economy while also paying homage to the ski roots that built such Colorado destinations,” Skadron said in a statement.
The goal of Aspen Ascent is to build public-private relationships and identify tangible next steps to build the economy. Aspen Ascent will feature three days of panel discussions exploring data, trends and research related to uphilling and the outdoor industry. Representatives from The North Face, La Sportiva, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the U.S. Forest Service, Aspen Skiing Co. and Aspen Chamber Resort Association will attend.
Uphill ski and snowboard travel is the latest way outdoor recreation is engaging participants of all ages, according to Nathan Fry, deputy director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation.
“Uphill ski activities have extended beyond the trailhead to become an emerging attraction at lift-serviced resorts,” Fry said. “Uphill participants are motivated by the health benefits of earning their turns and the history of the sport. According to Longwoods International, Colorado is by far the top destination for skiing and attracts more than 20 percent of skiing trips in the U.S.”
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