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Mountain bike trail maintenance crew is in desperate need of summer seasonal help

Roaring Fork Valley bike group cannot find as many applicants this year

A crew from Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association takes a break from work on the Arbaney Kittle Trail in summer 2020. From left to right are Chad Smith, Sophia Jacober and Spencer Ellsperman.
RFMBA/courtesy photo

A program that has benefited thousands of mountain bikers around the Roaring Fork Valley the past five years is in danger of scaling back this year.

Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association hasn’t been able to hire enough workers so far to fill out its seasonal trail crew. The crewmembers lop off vegetation that grows into the trail corridor, improve drainage and tackle maintenance issues as they arise. They work on routes from Aspen to New Castle.

“We’re not getting as many candidates this year,” association president Mike Pritchard said. He suspects it is related to the dearth of affordable housing that has made it difficult for employers throughout the valley to find enough workers.



Last season the mountain bike association employed seven on its crew, the largest ever. Six worked full time. The full-timers generally worked four 10-hour days and had three-day weekends off.

This year, only one crewmember is signed up and an offer has been made to a second person. Pritchard’s goal is to hire a crew of at least five. Pay ranges from $17 to $20 and there is a stipend for health insurance.




The work starts in late April and goes into fall, as weather allows. Pritchard said he has relied heavily on college students who return to the valley for the summer. It’s provided a good source of workers, but they typically have to leave by late August.

Crewmembers go through training to start the season. Reliable personal vehicles are required for access to the trailheads. Mileage is paid. Crews typically work together on projects and RFMBA avoids solo work in the backcountry.

The nonprofit group is one of the organizations that have answered the bell to assist cash-strapped federal land management agencies with trail work. The work is important because the trail crew also serves as trail ambassadors.

More information on the positions is available at http://www.rfmba.org/2022-stc.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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