Saturday, January 27

Thanks to our master groomer Aaron Mattix, Hwy 819  and Kay’s Loop are in primo condition. That’s Odin on Kay’s Loop on the way to Dorothy’s View. Amazing …

Partly cloudy and cold at the trailhead today — 19 degrees.  Light, variable winds. The snow is cold and soft.

Trail Conditions

  • Hwy 819
  • Kay’s Loop
  • Zeus’s Cutoff
    Machine packed
  • East Cutoff
    Tracked snow over machine packed
  • Eric’s Loop
    Machine packed


Tod Tibbetts machine packed Eric’s Loop today. There’s still more shovel work to do out there before Aaron can run the ginzugroomer but it’s totally skiable.

It’s not all corduroy out there, folks. Below is a shot of Zeus’s Cutoff where many early season hazards do exist. We still need more snow!

No new snow in the forecast.

Get out and enjoy these good snow conditions while you can!

And keep on snow dancing!


Saturday, December 30

Temps were in the low 40s at the trailhead today. Way too warm. Skies were partly cloudy with 10-15 mph wind gusts.

As you can see, trail conditions are deteriorating rapidly. The good news is what little snow there is remains soft, not icy. Though there are plenty of rocks and bare spots to dodge. Hwy 819 and Kay’s Loop are skiable due to the snowmobile trail. But this won’t last long.

But the news isn’t all bad. Henrik and Odin enjoyed the snow and had a great ski together.

We need snow.


Autumn Newsletter 2017

Meet Aaron Mattix

Last season West Elk Trails Inc hired Aaron Mattix to groom trails one day a week. He did such a fantastic job we hired him for 2 days/week for the 2017-18 season. Aaron’s pay was fully funded by trail users’ voluntary membership fees and donations. Please keep those donations coming! Urge your friends to donate. Help us provide you with a great ski and snowshoe experience!

West Elk Trails Inc thanks Garfield County and the Rifle Community Foundation for grants that will help cover equipment & trail maintenance expenses for the  2017-18 ski season.

Hiking is prohibited on the West Elk Trails after grooming operations begin in December. West Elk Trails Inc has a Special Use Permit (SUP) with the White River National Forest Rifle Ranger District. According to the Forest Service, the purpose of the SUP is for installing trail marker signs and grooming cross country ski trails. Hikers are not permitted on the trails during ski season (Dec-March). Hiking is allowed on the Rifle Snowmobile trails and the Buford Road beyond the blockade. It’s up to you — the trail users — to ask hikers to use other trails. Please help spread the word!

West Elk trails are packed with snowmobiles and run over with a pull-behind groomer — not a snowcat. Therefore, our trails are not technically “packed and groomed” like downhill ski runs or snowmobile trails. The snow base is actually quite “fragile” and certainly not solid. Walkers risk serious injury from postholing. The holes left by walkers are hazardous for both skiers and our dogs.

We need one more board member. We hold one board meeting per year in the fall. Our board members communicate via email and text throughout the ski season and a few times during the off season.

We always need volunteers to clear trails, set stakes, shovel short sections (trail leveling). Training is provided. Any help is appreciated!

If you’re interested in joining our board or helping out on the trails, please send email to Peggy Tibbetts:

Voluntary membership fee is $30 per individual and $50 per couple. The voluntary membership fee is a grooming fee — not a user fee. Every dollar goes toward the costs of trail maintenance and equipment. A small price to pay for groomed trails in the back country. Ensure your winter recreation fun on the West Elk trails!

Click here to print West Elk Trails Inc Membership Form

Remember West Elk Trails Inc is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
All voluntary membership fees and donations are tax deductible!

September 30, 2017 — A lot of big dead trees came down last summer. More than usual. On Eric’s Loop there are 5 big trees down on the winding trail to the gully which must be cut and cleared before ski season.

West Elk Trails Inc thanks trail groomers Aaron Mattix, Tod Tibbetts, Bruce Kime, and Eric Boley. We also thank Todd Kupka for his help with equipment maintenance. Thanks go out to all our trail workers for their hard work and support. Our groomed ski trails would not be possible without them!

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