Aspen Skiing Co. officials are advising full-moon hikers to exercise caution and be respectful of the ski area this season after parties of more than 100 people were reported at the top of Buttermilk Mountain last winter.
Buttermilk has a hut and a bonfire pit on its western peak where hikers can get warm before heading down the mountain. That area has increased in popularity in the past couple of years with more people opting to make the hike on full-moon winter nights, said SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle.
As a result, the warming hut and surrounding area has been trashed and damaged, he said. To that end, SkiCo is asking party-goers to be respectful of the area and not to leave anything behind on the way down the mountain, Hanle said.
“It’s a privilege to go up there,” Hanle said.
With the season’s first full moon taking place tonight, at least one party is planned. The Facebook page for a public event called “Full Moon Skin and Ullr Fire” invited 313 locals to climb up Buttermilk around 6 p.m. and “raise the vibration for this winter and celebrate life with all the beautiful souls here in Aspen.”
Despite the large numbers, SkiCo doesn’t plan to put a stop to the parties or actively curtail them, Hanle said. Still, the company doesn’t encourage people to make the hike up any of its mountains at night, because there is a risk involved in skiing in the dark, Hanle said, adding that no major accidents have occurred yet.
“Officially do we want them happening?” asked Hanle of the full moon parties. “No. Because it’s a dangerous situation.”