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Conflict at Two Creeks

Dear Editor:

There is a user conflict that is increasing rapidly in recent years near the base of Two Creeks, beyond Snowmass ski area. The bottom half of the Two Creeks lift and trails pass through private properties. Within these properties are easements providing for alpine and homeowner ski trails and lifts and nordic trails. Operating costs, maintenance, liabilities and privacy prevent the homeowner trails and lifts and the nordic trails from being able to accept the influx of Aspen Ski Co. customers and personnel that choose to leave the Skico trails, Creekside and East Branch, thereby leaving the ski area, and traveling over and through the other users’ trails and properties.

This conflict is a result of several factors:

– Perhaps the primary one is the purported lack of knowledge that Creekside and East Branch are the designated, maintained trails for Skico customers and employees to access the base of Two Creeks. The other region, lifts and trails are not part of the ski area and to venture there subjects one to conflict; including trespass.

– Advances in alpine equipment have made it possible to negotiate conditions and terrain that was less appealing in the past; adding to the popularity of Burnt Mountain. Those who drop below the “Taylor Traverse” and do not exit to lower Long Shot/E. Branch are subject to this conflict. Nordic technique and equipment has become more specialized; requiring trail preparation that requires “classic” tracks as well as a uniform skating lane. Therefore, nordic trails are quite vulnerable to the impacts created by alpine users traveling upon them.

– Most troubling is the evidence that there is a general lack of courtesy and respect for others; demonstrated by those that insist on traveling beyond the ski area, onto these trails and properties. Despite the Skico sign at the Burnt Mt. gate declaring that it is your responsibility to avoid private properties including the subdivisions below, as well as boundary signs and informative signs at the junctions of the alpine/homeowner/nordic trails; these transgressions continue.

It is our hope that by bringing these conflicts to everyone’s attention, we can correct these problems now in order to preserve and make the best use of the privilege of access to these public and private lands, so that we can all enjoy the lifestyle and recreational opportunities that winter brings.

Tom Stiles and Austin Weiss,

city of Aspen Parks and Recreation

Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trails

Bill Boineau, Pines Homeowners’ Association


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