Partnership aims to improve cross-country trails in New Paltz

Cross-country ski trails at River-to-Ridge. (Wil Nieves | Open Space Institute)

The Open Space Institute has announced a new partnership with the Shawangunk Nordic Ski Association, to maintain cross country skiing paths at its River-to-Ridge Trail. The grooming will provide consistent trail conditions and improve the public’s access to the land during winter months, conditions permitting. 

Under the partnership, OSI is providing the necessary equipment, including the grooming engine and snow tracks, while SNSA is providing the grooming drag, mechanical expertise and will groom the trails as needed. SNSA also obtained a grant from Fischer Sports toward the purchase of trail-grooming accessories. 

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“This is a terrific opportunity for area residents and visitors to grab their cross-country skis and explore the beautiful winter landscape of the Shawangunk Ridge,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO.

Winter trails on the River-to-Ridge Trail will run from the Carmine Liberta Bridge in New Paltz to Butterville Road and will be maintained as weather permits. The River-to-Ridge Trail is open year-round from dawn to dusk and admission is free to all trail users. 

“As an organization focused on promoting cross-country skiing throughout the region, we’re excited to team up with OSI to increase access to skiing along the Ridge,” said Mark Ruoff of Shawangunk Nordic Ski Association. “The River-to-Ridge Trail is a scenic and impressive addition to our network of ski trails and the access is unparalleled for much of our local population.”

The groomed trails at River-to-Ridge will be maintained using a snow tracked utility vehicle with snow tracks pulling a grooming drag to rework the snow and create a compacted trail surface with set tracks. Groomed trails help skis to glide forward with minimal energy loss so that skiing is more efficient and beginners can learn to ski with control. 

Parking is available at the River-to-Ridge Trailhead at 41 Springtown Road in New Paltz. Since the trail is a multi-use trail open year-round to a large variety of activities and trail equipment, the public is reminded to please stay on the trail, be respectful of other users and yield as warranted.

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