Snowmass trail closes for pipeline project |

Snowmass trail closes for pipeline project

Maddie Vincent
The Aspen Times
A map of the Sleigh Ride Trail closure and alternate route taken from the Town of Snowmass Village official website.

The Sleigh Ride Trail above the Snowmass Village Mall will be closed for roughly 60 days starting Monday, according to town officials.

The closure of the beginner hiking and mountain biking trail, which starts above the Village Mall near the Top of the Village condos and runs between Carriage Way and Divide Road, is a result of a joint project between Aspen Skiing Co. and the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District to replace an existing stretch of water pipeline.

According to Kit Hamby, manager of Snowmass’ water and sanitation district, the project has been talked about for a few years but came to fruition just recently.

Hamby explained that the short stretch of pipeline to be replaced lies beneath the Sleigh Ride Trail and helps pump raw, or untreated, water from Ziegler Reservoir to the district’s water treatment plant, which filters the water for Snowmass residents and visitors to use.

The district also diverts raw water through this pipeline to Skico’s pump station, Hamby said, where it is used to make snow for a short period of time in the early winter season.

Once the replacement project is completed, the current decades-old stretch of 18-inch, pipeline will be a new, 20-inch, PVC pipeline that will be able to transport more water to the treatment plant and Skico pump station, increasing efficiency, Hamby said.

“This will be a great benefit to the entire community,” Hamby said of the project.

Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications for Skico, also said the project will benefit the community and is a part of the company’s ongoing efforts to monitor and address the efficiency of water delivery across its four mountains.

Although the water pipeline replacement requires the closure of Sleigh Ride Trail, town officials urge hikers and mountain bikers to take the alternate Rim Connector route to the upper portion of the Nature Trail.

The lower portion of the Nature Trail is closed because a culvert beneath it washed out earlier this summer, town officials said.