Rog, I respectfully agree to disagree with you about uphill skiing on the Sherb, but you have many supporters in your corner, including USFS, AMC, MWVSP.
Rog, you beat me to the punch, and I agree 100% with you regarding instructional groups traveling uphill, on GOST or the Sherburne Trail. A college group practicing self-arrest, glissading with crampons and ice axes en masse in the middle of the Sherburne Trail absolutely blew my mind one day, as I skinned up around them... it was early AM on a weekday, but all those 12-points and ice axes in the middle of the trail would have posed an unnecessary risk to any downhill skiers.
I'm the Emily Post of backcountry ethics, etiqette, and risk assessment.
Your question goes to the heart of a subject near-and-dear to a few die-hard T4T posters, which is keeping our recreational pursuits as UNREGULATED as possible,
except certain behaviors that adversely impact others
- FREEDOM OF THE HILLS -
with this freedom comes responsibility, of course, for your own safety and others',
but if you're only hurting someone's feelings, that's not cause for another regulation, IMO.
Hiking up or down the Sherburne Trail is explicitly forbidden - it only takes a few postholers to decimate the ski trail, obviously - and for safety reasons, to prevent collisions between hikers and out-of-control skiers.
But what about snowshoers, skinners and splitters?
My USFS and MWVSP friends all agree that uphill traffic of any kind is "not permitted" on the Sherburne, or is, at least, frowned-upon.
With proper flotation, uphill or downhill, there is no impact on the quality or longevity of the skiing surfaces.
Jones, what the heck makes you think skinning up kills the base? The last snow up GOST is the skin-track that we packed-down over the winter.
In fact, I may share one of my Westside skin track data in the future, because the more traffic, the better it packs down, and the longer it lasts late-season.
Which leaves collisions.
USFS, MWVSP, and AMC caretakers hate responding to collisions. They can be very bloody, and life-threatening. I could write another whole thread on my experiences with collision accidents between downhill skiers and riders on the Sherburne Trail. Long story short, take a 2-day SOLO WFA course, and carry a first aid kit in your ski pack that can stabilize a broken bone, and stop the bleeding - lots and lots of bleeding.
Back to your question of etiqette: in my opinion, a responsible uphill skier, splitter, or slowshoer poses no more risk of collision than any downhill skier, splitter, or slowshoer.
Where there are double-fall lines, as much as possible, I stay on the uphill edge; out-of-control skiers generally fall downhill.
i make an occasional exception at blind spots, like Windy Corner, where visibility may play a bigger role in safety than staying on the uphill edge;
the downhill edge is also the outside of the corner, and most people descending are on the middle or inside of that curve.
I avoid surprising anyone descending, and usually hoot or holler some encouraging words;
Ear-buds, headphones? no, no, no... listen to the forest, it's full of sounds, including the sound of descending skiers & riders - do not put your head down and turn the volume up, if you are sharing a trail with downhill traffic.
Time of day, and day of the week, are important factors. There are very few descending skiers early in the morning, and fewer mid-week than weekends & holidays.
When in doubt about the volume of downhill traffic, I stick to the TRT.
I confess, I skin up the Sherbie.
But I go out of my way to make sure it has no impact on anyone.
Why? Because I hate people, crowds, really, if you know what I mean.
When I discovered climbing skins turned my 200cm straight skis into snowshoes that could take me off-trail, away from the hordes of flatlanders trudging up the TRT, I was all over the Sherburne, and off it, skinning up anywhere between the TRT and Sherburne. But I digress.
Finally, I'm all about following safety protocols, even when risks are low, and they seem stupid. Following simple safety protocols, over time, pays off.
So I must confess, I am wrong, and that is the most convincing reason to NOT skin up the Sherburne. That, and I don't want to piss-off Rog, or my USFS and MWVSP friends.
One more reason - two actually - collisions with people and regulations - that I spend most of my days touring closer to home, in the Wild Wild West.