Mountain passes are the lifeblood of ski towns and unlike the “resort,” The “pass” offers free access to wild terrain. However, this phenomenon known as “passing” requires some know-how and street smarts that are not often found in most ski towns
Rules exist, etiquette is observed, and persistence is rewarded. Here is Hitchhiker’s Guide to Getting Up “The Pass.”
Find a Pull-Off And Stay There.
Whether it’s at the bottom of a mountain pass or in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, the main complaint I hear from drivers about hitchers is that they are unwilling to put themselves in an easy spot for pickup. The story goes something like this; “so this guy skis down to the road, un-clicks his skis right on the shoulder, and proceeds to thumb it in the worst possible spot on the pass. There’s no way I’m stopping there to pick them up.”
Whether it’s an urge to get right back up for another lap, being scared to walk on the shoulder, or just plain laziness, it’s the pass skier’s job to get in the wheelhouse of the car they hope to pick them up without causing a 12 car pileup. The easiest way to accomplish this end is to get to a known pullout and wait. Don’t start walking up the road. Just wait with your thumb directed at everyone but state troopers. Also, put that thumb out there… way out there.
Find the Ride
Some cars are just a waste of time. And when I say that, I mean most cars are a waste of time. However, if they were made after 2012, I’d bet good money they’re not picking up some gamey-looking ski bum. That said, any car born before 2012 is game.
However these are your go to targets:
- Pre-2000 Subaru
- Old Truck with local tags
- The mythical Jon Olsson Audi RS6
Cash, Grass, or Ass
No not really, but a couple bucks does help with the gas it takes to haul the group that includes your three buddies, who were hiding behind the snow bank.
After the best run of your life, position yourself for a pickup.
Ski down to a known pullout, even if that means skiing down the road for a little bit… do it. Go to a designated spot that’s been plowed out onto the shoulder, which allows for passerby’s to stop. Once you find that ‘87 Chevy Silverado—get in, turn on Bon Jovie’s “Dead or Alive” and repeat.