Marijuana: Top five rules of ski-area smoke shack etiquette

While mountain smoke shacks like the ones described in this week's feature, "Secret Stashes," tend to be, well, secret, they are also built on public land and are meant for any herb lover who finds them to stop in and enjoy however they see fit.

But there are some basic unwritten guidelines to follow.

Below are the top five etiquette tips I gleaned from talking with locals, perusing ski message boards and simply being a lifelong snowboarder.

5. Respect the Shack. While adding your own memento or carving a slogan into a dead log are generally accepted, don't destroy someone else's hard work by pulling down benches to make rail slides or using the shack as a toilet. Also, if you stumble upon the rare shack complete with a bong inside, make sure the bong stays there safely for the next shacker to ski up and use. Page down for more smoke shack tips. 4. Respect the forest. There's plenty of downed trees these days thanks to the pine beetle infestation that has browned the hillsides of Summit County and beyond. Cutting down new trees simply incurs the wrath of the Forest Service, which might be prone to letting a shack go unnoticed otherwise. Page down for more smoke shack tips. 3. Pack out what you pack in. We're not talking about bowls here (that's another rule). Unfortunately, too many people don't understand this rule and shacks littered with beer cans and Gatorade bottles are becoming all too common. If you bring trash to the shack, pack it out and keep the places clean for everyone else. The picture to the right is a bag of trash I found in a shack the other week that was left over from last season. Page down for more smoke shack tips. 2. Have something to contribute. Ganja smoking is a communal event on the hill, so expect to find other tokers enjoying a few minutes in the shack along with you. Make friends, pass a bowl to new people and bond over your shared love of sliding down snow-covered hills on planks of plastic and metal while stoned off some good OG. If you're short a bowl one day, that's okay. But stick around and pack up an extra one next time you stop in. Karma goes a long way on the mountain. Page down for more smoke shack tips. 1. Do not give away the exact locations of the shacks. The shacks might not really be too much of a secret these days, but that doesn't mean everyone needs to know where they are. Giving generalized directions or showing someone a shack firsthand are acceptable ways to spread the shack love, but even then, remember that discretion is key.

More from our Mile Highs and Lows archive: "Video: William Breathes invites you to light up at ski area smoke shack."

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes

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