Aspen Highlands Bootpacking Program


Sign up for the 2022-23 Boot Packer List:

ABOUT THE PROGRAM 

Aspen Highlands Boot Packing Program 2022-23

During the Fall of 2022, the Aspen Skiing Company Environment Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, will be accepting volunteers to assist the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol with pre-season snow disruption efforts in the Highland Bowl and on the frontside of the Aspen Highlands Ski Area. The Highland Bowl is a unique place for skiing and riding and would not be open without the dedicated efforts of our community volunteers.  Here are the details:

In the alpine

THE WORK

Some days, boot packing at the ski area involves long days spent outside in severe winter conditions at high altitude, marching up and down in the steep avalanche starting zones. The work is extremely strenuous and is comparable to mountaineering.  All the inherent risks of that sport are here also, including falls or possible avalanche involvement.

Other days bootpacking is much less extreme.  When the weather is calm and sunny, and we ride the lifts back up the top Loge after each lap in Temerity, Steeplechase and Oly Bowl,  the bootpacking may not be as trenuous.

THE SCHEDULE

  • During the early season (pre-Highlands opening) we may be working Monday through Saturday from 8am until 4:30pm, weather permitting.  Boot packers choose whichever days they want to join us.
  • Packing will begin when there is sufficient snow in the starting zones. Due to this requirement, dates of operations may begin or end at any time. In the past  the schedule has varied widely. We have begun as early as  October 21st and as late as December 7th.  Mid-November is the most common starting date.  We try to  finish packing by the end of December. In some years,  bootpacking ends by Highlands opening day in mid-December.
  • Assuming favorable weather conditions, the job will last 6 to 8 weeks. It is up to the individual to fit their volunteer days into the days available for packing.  There is no guarantee how many days will be available for boot packing.
  • Some days, we will not pack while ski patrol  performs  annual training of staff, OR  performs Avalanche Mitigation work.

The Voucher Credit

¨         Volunteers are not employees of  Aspen Skiing Company or the Aspen Skiing Company Environment Foundation and are required to sign releases acknowledging that fact.  There is no Workers’ Compensation coverage  or similar disability insurance coverage for volunteers participating in this boot packing program.

Voucher Guidelines: (revised and expanded for 2022-23 season)

  1.  New this season,. Every volunteer packing day earns voucher credit.  (There is no longer a three or five day minimum in order to qualify for voucher credit.)
  2. Voucher credit is based on the total number of volunteer packing days. Voucher credit can be applied either toward approved ASC Season Passes,  or (new this season) applied to 1-day lift tickets.
  3. Bootpackers who volunteer for 15 days  will be offered a Premier Pass.
  4. New this season, Premier Passes offered to boot packers  have all of the same Premier Benefits as a regular Premier Pass. 
  5. Premier Benefits include an Ikon Base Pass, friends and family vouchers, discounts on lessons and rentals, and more.
  6. Boot packers who volunteer 12 days will be offered a Alpine 2-Day.
  7. Boot packers  who volunteer 8 days will be offered an Alpine 1-Day.
  8. Boot packers who qualify may volunteer 7 days for a College Pass.
  9. Bootpackers who qualify may volunteer 3 days for a Valley Pass.
  10. Boot packers may add cash to the voucher  to upgrade to the approved ASC  Season Pass of their choice.
  11.  In the case of vouchers exceeding the value of the pass choice, no reimbursement will be made.
  12.  New this season, volunteer packing days may  be exchanged for  lift tickets instead of credit toward a season pass. 
  13.  New this season, boot packers may choose one lift ticket for each packing day, (up to a maximum of ten lift tickets).  These lift tickets may be used by family and friends.
  14.  New this season, voucher credit is transferable to family and friends.  Volunteers may assign their boot packing voucher credit to family and friends.
  15. Voucher credit cannot be used for Classic Passes OR in conjunction with a Chamber Discount.
  16.  Voucher credit must be used by January 10, 2023 and CANNOT be saved for future use.

THE GEAR

  • Mandatory – Avalanche rescue beacon broadcasting at 457khz.
  • A vibram soled boot is required. Alpine touring boots, telemark boots or stiff snowboard boots are the ideal footwear.
  • Full winter clothing able to withstand entire days outside.
  • Packers are responsible for their own lunch and water and must have a suitable backpack for carrying personal gear.
  • Skis and boards will likely be damaged due to traveling over low snow depth terrain. Bring “rock” gear. (Ask if you don’t understand what this means.)
  • An ice axe, skins and AT bindings are a plus but not necessary.

INJURY

THE CHANCE OF INJURY EXISTS. AGAIN, YOU ARE NOT COVERED BY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION.