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!


Save the Date: June 10, 2017

Please join the Rifle Ranger District and West Elk Trails Inc
for a Trail Maintenance Day!

June 10, 2017
9:00 a.m.

We need your help maintaining the Mansfield Trail.

Work includes but is not limited to: constructing drainage features, limbing, brush cutting, sign installation and invasive weed eradication.

Meet at the cattleguard just past Mansfield Trail at the Forest Service Boundary at 9:00 a.m.
(park at Forest Service Boundary on CR 245)

Please come prepared to work outdoors, dress appropriately for weather conditions: wear long pants & sleeves, bring gloves, hat, sunglasses, closed toe shoes/workboots, sun block, water and snacks. Bring your own hand tools such as shovel, limb loppers, pick,etc.

This event is open to all ages: children under age 18 must have parent or guardian present.

For additional information and registration contact the Rifle Ranger District at 970-625-2371 or West Elk Trails 970-876-2196

Saturday, March 18

The snow cover is melting in the gully on Eric’s Loop

Aaron Mattix packed and groomed trails on Friday. Thank you Aaron!

No new snow this week.

Aaron reports: “Snow cover has melted down quite a bit; very soft and mushy off the packed trail.”

Trail Conditions

  • Hwy 819
    Groomed past the Ginzugroomer parking area — track set
    Machine packed from Trailhead to intersection with Zeus’s Cutoff
  • Kay’s Loop
    Groomed — track set
  • Zeus’s Cutoff
  • East Cutoff
  • Eric’s Loop
    Machine packed
  • James’s Loop
    Machine packed to hilltop
    Machine packed  on 820 to the turn to the cow cabin

  Skis or snowshoes only!

Grooming operations will continue through March. Signs and stakes will be pulled on April 1. Volunteers needed!

Enjoy those groomed trails while you still can!

Next Page »