Mountain Policies

All guests who visit Red Lodge Mountain are responsible for knowing and complying with the following policies. 

As Partners in Recreation and with approval from the US Forest Service, Red Lodge Mountain’s Uphill Travel Policy allows access for uphill travelers outside of operational hours. Across the country, increasing uphill traffic within ski area boundaries has driven the implementation of Uphill Policies. While uphill travel within ski area boundaries may seem innocuous, it poses significant safety concerns for uphill and downhill recreationalists, ski area operations, and ski area staff. For this reason, uphill travel is not permitted in any fashion at many ski areas. Red Lodge Mountain’s policy reflects our commitment to seek a balance between mitigating the safety concerns of uphill travel as a recreational user within the downhill ski area/Special Use Permit area with the reasonable needs of operating a sustainable and successful alpine ski area, for which we have been granted a Special Use Permit from the US Forest Service.

Red Lodge Mountain continues to work closely with the Beartooth Ranger District, Custer National Forest, and local organizations in order to build awareness and provide public education regarding uphill travel and recreational uses.  Our goal is to find a reasonable balance between and among user groups who share a common interest in recreating within the Red Lodge Mountain Special Permit area in a safe, non-confrontational and sustainable manner.

Montana Ski Statutes

23-2-731 Purpose

The legislature finds that skiing is a major recreational sport and a major industry in the state and recognizes that among the attractions of the sport are the inherent dangers and risks of skiing. The state has a legitimate interest in maintaining the economic viability of the ski industry by discouraging claims based on damages resulting from the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, defining the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, and establishing the duties of skiers and ski area operators.

General

  • Updated information can also be found on the Snow Phone at 406-425-3334 or on our daily Snow Report.
  • When the Ski Patrol is conducting early-morning avalanche control work, flashing signs will be posted in the base area and at the entrance gate.  This indicates that uphill travel is prohibited. 
  • Use of all Terrain Parks is prohibited outside of normal operating hours.
  • Before and after daylight hours, reflective clothing is recommended.
  • Use of RLM Hancock Hut (Summit Ski Patrol Station) requires advanced permission for overnight use.  If you plan to stay and ski, you must contact RLM management to verify there will be no conflicting mountain operations that could compromise the safety of employees or guests.

Red Lodge Mountain Policy – Pre/Post Season

The ski area is an un-controlled dispersed recreation opportunity before and after the operating season of the ski area.  Public using the ski area at this time assume all risks for their activities including route selection, stability analysis, and all other activities.  Ski area improvements including rails, pipes, jumps, etc. are prohibited from use.

Safety considerations, maintenance or operational requirements, grooming operations, snowmaking operations, special events, avalanche hazard mitigation work, wildlife or resource considerations, or construction, may cause public risk management issues to exist.  To protect the public from potential hazards that may exist from time to time, prior to the opening of the ski season, the ski area is authorized to close areas subject to those potential hazards and to post signs at uphill access points closing those areas.

Red Lodge Mountain Policy – During the Season & During Operating Hours

Uphill travel by way of foot, snowshoes, splitboard, or skis is not permissible between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Users will need to be descending at 9:00 a.m.  Exclusions may apply for unusual circumstances.   These exclusions may include but are not limited to special events, maintenance, etc.

Red Lodge Mountain Policy – During the Season & Outside Operating Hours

Uphill travel is permissible between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.  Outside of operating hours, there may be circumstances in which the ski area may eliminate uphill traffic or limit or restrict uphill traffic by designating specific times or days or routes that will be available for such use.  These circumstances might include safety, maintenance or operational needs, grooming operations, snowmaking operations, special events, avalanche hazard mitigation work, or wildlife or resource considerations, among others.  The ski area is authorized, with Forest Service pre-approval, to perform any or all of these actions as deemed reasonable and necessary by the ski area.

Required Uphill Routes  (see RLM Trail Map):

  • To Summit-Showoff Alley to Chicken Trail to Lazy M
  • To Mid-mountain- Showoff Alley to Auto Bahn to Turnpike

Prohibited Uphill and Downhill Routes due to possible winching operations (see RLM Trail Map):

  • Upper & Lower Limited
  • Pine Ridge Face
  • Face of M

Dogs

It is preferred that dogs be left at home for their safety. Should they participate, dogs must be on a leash or kept under verbal control and owners must clean up all solid waste, failure to do so may result in removal of Uphill Use privileges.

It is recommended that all dogs wear a turned-on collar headlight or reflective collar while on-mountain.

Dogs are not permitted on-mountain from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Avalanche Danger and Explosives

Avalanche danger may exist at any time along many of the uphill routes. Following ANY amount of new snow, and possibly wind, the Ski Patrol may be conducting avalanche control work, including the use of explosives.

Avalanche control updates will be posted on Red Lodge Mountain’s Snow Report at 5 a.m.

When the Ski Patrol is conducting early morning avalanche control work, flashing signs will be posted in the base area and at the entrance gate.  This indicates that UPHILL TRAVEL IS PROHIBITED. 

Any other specific closures may be noted on the Snow Report at 5 a.m.

Hazards

  • Participants must also beware of, and avoid mountain hazards. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Snowmaking hoses and power cables – Danger, high pressure! High voltage! Do not ski over hoses or power lines!
  • Snowmaking guns– Do not ski on runs with operating snow making equipment!
  • Snowmobiles – Stay to the edge, wear reflective clothing and don’t get hit!
  • Snow Cat grooming – Give cats a wide berth and make yourself visible to operators, do not assume they see you!
  • Winch Cat operations – Dangerous cable! Under no circumstances may anyone access any area on RLM where winch cat operations are taking place. Such work will involve cables stretched tightly across the terrain and is very dangerous. Skiing into them could result in serious injury or death.
  • Respect strobe lights and signage.

Other hazard areas, operations or conditions may exist at any time on-mountain.

UPHILL TRAVEL PROTOCOL

  • Yield and stay clear of ski area machinery, i.e. grooming machines, snowmobiles and snowmaking equipment. When encountering winch operations, re-routing is required (see Prohibited Uphill Routes).
  • Mountain users should use reflective clothing, headlamps, and blinking lights when possible. Animals should have blinking lights when possible.
  • Adhere to Trail Closures. No skier except a member of the ski patrol or employee of the Forest Service, a Sheriff, or a ski area operator in the course of his employment, shall enter or go upon any closed area.
  • Uphill travel is prohibited when Avalanche Control work is taking place.
  • If you pack it in, please pack it out. Help us keep the Forest clean for future users.

All participants within the permit boundary are considered skiers and are subject to Montana Skier Statute Title 23, Sec. 4, Ch. 346, 23-2-736 Duties of Skier.

 

For the safety of our guests and employees, the use of drones or UAVs is not permitted anywhere at Red Lodge Mountain.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY CODE

Skiing can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country, and other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled or other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share this Responsibility Code with other skiers for a great skiing experience.

  • Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and closed areas.
  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload safely.

Skiers and riders should be advised that a green circle, blue square, or black diamond trail at one area is not necessarily the same as a similarly rated trail at another area. The system is a relative system that is only valid at this area. Skiers and riders should work their way up, beginning with the easiest trails, no matter what their ability level may be, until they are familiar with the trails at the area.

Be advised that all poles and/or flags, fencing, signage, and padding on equipment or objects, or other forms of marking devices, are used by the ski area to inform you of the presence or location of a potential obstacle or hazard. These markers are no guarantee of your safety and will not protect you from injury. It is part of your responsibility under Your Responsibility Code to avoid all obstacles or hazards, including those that are marked.

KNOW THE CODE. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

This is only a partial list. Be safety conscious. Your Responsibility Code is officially endorsed by the National Ski Areas Association.

Lift Safety

Be advised that you cannot board a lift unless you have sufficient physical dexterity, ability, and knowledge to negotiate or to use such lift safely, or until you have asked for and received information sufficient to enable you to load, ride, and unload the lift safely. You may not use a lift or any ski trail when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Remove backpacks before boarding lifts. Check for loose straps and clothing.

Caution

Snowcats, snowmobiles, and snowmaking may be encountered at any time.

Slow Zones

Certain areas (highlighted on the map) are designated as SLOW ZONES. Please observe posted slow zone areas by maintaining a speed no faster than the general flow of traffic. Fast and aggressive skiing and riding may result in loss of lift ticket.

Helmet Use

Helmets are a smart idea. Red Lodge Mountain encourages you to educate yourself on the benefits and limitations of helmets. If you choose to wear one, please ski or ride as if you are not wearing one. Every winter sport participant shares the responsibility for his or her safety and that of others using the ski facilities.

Backcountry Riding 

Backcountry Exit Gates - Use Extreme Caution! You are leaving the ski area and subjecting yourself entirely to all the dangers and responsibilities the backcountry presents. The ski area assumes no responsibility for skiers or riders going beyond the ski area boundary. Areas beyond the ski area boundary are not patrolled or maintained. Avalanches, unmarked obstacles, and other natural hazards exist. Rescue in the backcountry, if available, will be costly and may take time.

Freestyle Terrain

Helmets are recommended. Freestyle terrain may include jumps, hits, ramps, banks, fun boxes, jibs, rails, half pipes, quarter pipes, snowcross, bumpy terrain, and other constructed or natural terrain features. PRIOR to using freestyle terrain, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with freestyle terrain and obeying all instructions, warnings, and signs. Freestyle skills require maintaining control on the ground and in the air. Freestyle Terrain has designations for size. Start small and work your way up. Designations are relative to this ski area.

Look Before You Leap

You are responsible for inspecting freestyle terrain before initial use and throughout the day. The features vary in size and change constantly due to snow conditions, weather, usage, grooming, and time of day. Do not jump blindly. Use a spotter when necessary.

Easy Style It

Always ride or ski in control and within your ability level. Do not attempt freestyle terrain unless you have sufficient ability and experience to do so safely. You control the degree of difficulty you will encounter in using freestyle terrain, both on the ground and in the air.

Respect Gets Respect

Respect freestyle terrain and others. Only one person on a feature at a time. Wait your turn and call your start. Always clear the landing area quickly. Respect all signs and do not enter freestyle terrain or use features when closed.

Use of freestyle terrain exposes you to the risk of serious injury or death. Inverted aerials are not recommended. You assume the risk.

OUT-OF-CONTROL SKIING/RIDING

Red Lodge Mountain is seriously concerned about the safety of its skiers/riders. The Ski Patrol will issue warnings or remove privileges without refund for those who are acting recklessly or are out of control.

AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES

Only authorized recreational activities are allowed on Red Lodge Mountain premises. All other activities, including sledding and tubing, are strictly prohibited.

23-2-736. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED

Duties of skier.

  1. A skier has the duty to ski at all times in a manner that avoids injury to the skier and others and to be aware of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing. 
  2. A skier:
    1. shall know the range of the skier's ability and safely ski within the limits of that ability and the skier's equipment so as to negotiate any section of terrain or ski slope and trail safely and without injury or damage. A skier shall know that the skier's ability may vary because of ski slope and trail changes caused by weather, grooming changes, or skier use;
    2. shall maintain control of speed and course so as to prevent injury to the skier or others;
    3. shall abide by the requirements of the skier responsibility code that is published by the national ski areas association and that is posted as provided in 23-2-733;
    4. shall obey all posted or other warnings and instructions of the ski area operator; and
    5. shall read the ski area trail map and must be aware of its contents.
  3. A person may not:
    1. place an object in the ski area or on the uphill track of a passenger ropeway that may cause a passenger or skier to fall;
    2. cross the track of a passenger ropeway except at a designated and approved point; or
    3. if involved in a skiing accident, depart from the scene of the accident without:
      1. leaving personal identification; or
      2. notifying the proper authorities and obtaining assistance when the person knows that a person involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance.
  4. A skier shall accept all legal responsibility for injury or damage of any kind to the extent that the injury or damage results from inherent dangers and risks of skiing. Nothing in this part may be construed to limit a skier's right to hold another skier legally accountable for damages caused by the other skier.
General
 
Red Lodge Mountain (RLM) reserves the right to select the type of equipment allowed on RLM aerial and surface lifts, and terrain. Skis and snowboards must have proper retention and/or braking devices. Sleds, tubes, snow skates, ski bikes, ski trikes, discs, toboggans, snowscooters, body sleds, or airboards are not permitted on RLM terrain or lifts. This list is not exhaustive and subject to change at any time. In addition, foot passengers are not allowed on lifts unless authorized by management 24 hours in advance.
 
Adaptive Equipment
 
Red Lodge Mountain permits specialized equipment1 to allow those with disabilities to access RLM lifts and terrain under the following conditions:
  • The person using the equipment must have a qualifying disability2 that requires them to utilize a special device to access lifts and slopes.
  • The equipment must be inspected by RLM and deemed to be safely operational when being loaded and unloaded on the aerial lifts, with minimum disruption to normal operations.
  • The equipment and person(s) operating/assisting must be able to control and stop the equipment in a safe manner.
  • Adaptive skiers may use a guide or personal assistant in order to ski safely, negotiate the lifts, or meet other conditions of the Skier Code. Guides and personal assistants may utilize specialized equipment to assist the adaptive skier in training and learning of adaptive skiing techniques.
 
If a person with a disability desires to access RLM lifts and terrain, but does not possess the proper equipment and training, the individual must make arrangements with Eagle Mount. Eagle Mount is an organization, independent of RLM, that specializes in assisting people with disabilities enjoy skiing and snowboarding at RLM. It provides specially designed equipment and adaptive techniques, along with the assistance of well-trained staff and volunteer instructors, for children and adults with disabilities. For more information, contact the Eagle Mount Ski Program, info@eaglemount.us, or call (406) 969-2949.
 
1 - There is no express list of what type of equipment is considered specialized equipment for adaptive skiing access. Specialized equipment for adaptive skiers which meets all the conditions outlined in the Adapative Equipment Policy will be allowed access at RLM. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to help disabled person(s) meet the policy.
2 - Skiers with a disability are persons meeting the definition contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Section 12102, that substantially limits that person’s ability to ski or snowboard, negotiate slopes/trails, or meet the general requirements to use passenger ropeways. This definition does not apply to impairments that are transitory, with an actual or expected duration of six (6) months or less.