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Sometimes the hardest part about getting out for a winter hike is opening the front door to brave the elements but hikers in Idaho have another worry: downhill skiers. Sawtooth National Forest officials are warning snow-shoers and hikers on Bald Mountain to watch out for downhill skiers enjoying the fresh powder slopes. Officials recommend hikers make it up the mountain before 9am when lifts open or after 4:30pm when the lifts close for the day.

As a downhill skier myself, this brings up an interesting point some may not be aware of: lift tickets aren’t usually required to use a ski area unless you plan on riding the lift. Since most western and many eastern ski areas are located on National Forest land, resort operators can’t legally limit access to the slopes themselves – only to the manmade equipment (i.e. lifts). So, if you’re feeling strong and are looking to save some cash you can walk up the slopes with your skis or snowboard and enjoy a complementary downhill run on the US government. Of course it will probably take 50 times longer to go up than it will to go down and even the most fit hikers won’t be able to get in more than 2-3 runs in a day but hey, at least you’re outdoors!

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