Snowmass history: The Owl Creek Trail |

Snowmass history: The Owl Creek Trail

Community enthusiasm paved the way for trail connecting Aspen, Snowmass Village

Aspen Historical Society
Raoul Wille, local junior Nordic program director, participates in a cross-country ski race circa 1985.
Aspen Historical Society/Courtesy image

“The Nordic dream has finally been realized,” declared The Aspen Times on Jan. 31, 1985.

“For many years Nordic enthusiasts have dreamed of a free and extensive cross-country trail system linking Aspen and Snowmass and stretching even beyond. Until this year, the dream looked as though it was going to remain just that. But this year, sooner than anyone had really thought possible, it became a reality. Its realization is due to the earlier groundwork laid by many, and to the aggressive recent efforts of Craig Ward, an Aspenite from childhood, a former captain of the US Olympic Nordic Ski Team and director of the new Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council (ASNC). … The crowning accomplishment of the ASNC this season, however, is the opening of the Owl Creek trail from Tiehack west across the face of Buttermilk and down into the Owl Creek drainage, where meadows are linked by groves of aspen and pine, and where skiers may finish the 8 kilometer trek with a warmup at the Snowmass Club. The trails have been made possible by permission granted by numerous landowners, and by financial support as well as just plain unadulterated enthusiasm from the communities and governments of Aspen and Snowmass.”

The trail set the foundation for the Owl Creek Chase cross-country ski race, a longstanding local tradition.


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