History: Trail names: West side | AspenTimes.com

History: Trail names: West side

Now that the season has started, let’s remember how the trails were named in Snowmass. From west to east as the ski trails flow, Campground was named because of the Forest Service campground going into Snowmass Lake area at the base and Sam’s Knob after Sam Stapleton whose sheep roamed the mountain meadows and who got up at 4 a.m. to check on the flock, especially as fall came and the bears got hungry. Bear Claw was named to honor the bears that roam the area and leave scratch marks on the trees, and Blue Grouse and Wildcat presumably for the other wild animals that prowl the hillsides. Slot for the rockslide area and Sunnyside for the sun that cooks the run. The Big Burn was a large burned area with many blackened stumps, hence the name, but why it was that way has several stories, though none have been confirmed: Was it the Utes (native to the Roaring Fork Valley) trying to push away the white settlers, or the other way around? Or could it have been lightning that started a blaze years prior? However in the summer and fall of 1879, there are reports that there were “heavy forest fires” in the area by Warner A. Root published in the Aspen Times on April 23, 1881. Ute Chute was named for them as well. Off of the Burn, Sneaky’s was named for the first mountain manager Jim “Sneaky” Snobble and Max Park for an oldtimer presumably from the area. Mick’s Gully (Mick Strong) and Hal’s Hallow (Hal Hartman) were both named for those individuals’ early involvement as snowcat guides leading tours here in the early 1960s. Wineskin and Moonshine are more shout-outs to the snowcat days of enjoying lunch and wine after a morning of skiing powder. Powerline is named for the powerline that runs through it, and Whispering Jesse for the least quiet person known on the mountain, Jesse Caparella, a lift manager for Snowmass. Photo shows skiers on the Big Burn.