Author: skibumkayaker

HIV Researcher and outdoor enthusiast, environmentalist, skier, volunteer for Pajarito Mountain ski area

2015 Chainsaw Crew Work

Summer Volunteer work 2015 has begun.
The 2015 Summer Chainsaw crew work has begun. We will have crews working on Tuesday evenings this spring until it gets too dry for fire danger. We meet at the maintenance building at the base of Spruce Chair at 4:50 PM and head up the mountain by 5:15 PM. Our first work site is in between the top of the Townsight Quad chair and the top of Spruce Chair. Contact Brian Foley btf{at] if you would like to join our crew.
Work site
April 16, 2015. Neal Pederson and helpers have not yet ridden most of the bike trails so this map below is listing sites where we cut trees last year. I will post a new map soon, of the trees that need to be taken care of before Summerfest for sure, starting with trails that will be used for the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs on May 23. Contact Brian Foley or Neal Pederson if you can help, or if you find other sites that need work which are not mapped here.


Contacts on the ski area are:
Tom Long’s Cell phone is 412-2563 and his email is
Marcy Parten is in the office 662-5725 email
Mike Green’s Cell phone is 690-1668
Brian Foley’s Cell phone is 948-6863 email
Butch Wood’s cell phone is 412-1419 email
Neal Pederson Cell phone is 660-1400 email


Summer 2014 volunteer work has begun

The 2014 Summer Chainsaw crew work has begun.   We may have crews working on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings this spring until it gets too dry for fire danger.  We meet at the maintenance building at the base of Spruce Chair at 4:50 PM and head up the mountain by 5:15 PM.   Our first work site is in between the top of the Townsight Quad chair and the top of Spruce Chair.  Contact Brian Foley btf{at] if you would like to join our crew.


Neal Pederson has marked where there are trees down on the bike trails, and we need to get those taken care of before summer bike season begins.  See map below.   Contact Neal Pederson or Brian Foley if you can help with this, or if you find other work that is not on the map while you are out riding.


Back by popular demand: The Pajarito Adopt-A-Slope Program


Pajarito Mountain Ski Area was built by volunteers, and for 70 years volunteers have run the non-profit Los Alamos Ski Club which owns and operates Pajarito Mountain.  The paid staff at Pajarito Mountain, especially in the off-season, is very lean and for the last few years they have been required to focus more on post-fire recovery and snow-making operations than on the continual maintenance of the slopes.  As a result of that and the Las Conchas Fire, the forest has started to encroach more than usual onto the ski runs.  Volunteers crews working all off-season and organized work parties accomplish much, and are essential, but are organized more for logging and clearing dead and down trees.  We need a concentrated effort to clear the slopes ahead of the upcoming ski season (which will be glorious) and going forward.  For this reason, we’ve decided to reintroduce an Adopt-A-Slope Program.
Primarily, adopting a slope means taking responsibility for lopping the aspen shoots, locust and other woody plants and small trees that will otherwise stick up through the snow and be a hazard to skiing.  It also mean identifying other hazards—dangerously snagged trees, slash from logging operations, rocks—and reporting those hazards so they can be remediated.  It does not include unsupervised (by an authorized person) chain-sawing, rock-rolling, or other dangerous activities.  We’re asking people, families, groups of friends, companies and other organizations to pick a slope, or portion of a slope.  Some slopes require major maintenance and some very little (at this time).  Pick your favorite slope if available, but the major initial effort needs to focus on the east side of the Mountain (between East Confusion and Lone Spruce).  Please only adopt now if you can spend some time between now and when the snow flies.  Your work doesn’t have to be perfect and isn’t meant to substitute for the normal work required to operate a safe skiing operation.  Every little bit counts and 10 person-hours per slope will make a very significant impact.  This program is intended to supplement, and not replace or in any way discourage, other volunteer efforts or organized work parties, and other people may work on your adopted slope.  If your slope doesn’t require extensive maintenance, you can also help on slopes that do.  You can work during any daylight hours any day of the week before the season starts.  During business hours, a few loppers are available for borrowing at the Business Office (505 662 5725).  Obviously, there are inherent risks in working in an high altitude mountain environment on steep and irregular slopes.  Please don’t adopt-a-slope if not fit to hike up and down a mountain at high altitude.  Use good judgment and be mindful of others.
If you adopt-a-slope, you may put up a sign at the top of the slope, near the sign with the run’s name, that announces the adoption.  The sign should be not more than 18×24 inches, should complement our  “look & culture” as much as possible, be able to withstand the rigors of winter, and not be too overwhelming.  It’s possible that Pajarito Mountain staff might replace some signs to achieve some reasonable uniformity.  This part of the program is an experiment and we’re not sure how it will turn out, but the point is that, if you adopt a slope, and if you choose, your adopted slope can bear your name, your company’s or group’s name, etc.
Demands on  time have never been greater and there are far fewer volunteers working on Pajarito Mountain than in year’s past.  We want to reinvigorate the tradition, and believe the benefits will accrue not only to Pajarito Mountain, but to you and the community.
*             Community-Mindedness.  Pajarito Mountain is one of the true jewels of Los Alamos and is an important attraction for residents, potential residents and visitors, and an economic development driver for the County.  It needs volunteers to be successful.  This is an excellent opportunity to teach your family and kids community-mindedness.
*             Be part of the tradition.  Unpaid hero volunteers historically cut all of the runs, assembled and maintained the lift equipment, and build all of the improvements  (See Deanna Morgan Kirby’s “Just Crazy to Ski-a Fifty-Year History of Skiing at Los Alamos”, published by the Los Alamos Historical Society (2003) and
*             Volunteering outdoors will make you happier and healthier and give you a chance to release your inner Mountain Man or Mountain Woman.
*             It’s a beautiful fall pastime
*             You can do it in solitude or with friends, family or others that share your passion for skiing, outdoor recreation, and helping the community.
*             You can do it on your own time.
*             You can influence the shape and character of a slope.
*             You get to be involved in something you care about.
*             You’ll feel like you’ve earned your beverage.
For more information on the Adopt-a-Slope program, or to adopt a slope, email

Summer 2013 Chainsaw work has begun. Clipping crews needed.

The chainsaw group has already put in 3 weeks of work, and we continue on Tuesday evenings.  We meet at the shop at the base of Lone Spruce Lift every Tuesday at 4:45 to sharpen saws and get our protective gear.  We leave the shop by 5:20, but if you arrive late we will leave a note so you can find us on the mountain.  

We need more brush clippers for trimming Aspen shoots on the Fab Four and other west side ski trails.  Susan Brockway will be leading groups on Tuesday evenings, but anyone can work on this at any time. 

We need a new crew leader to organize groups to stack brush for chipping in the areas that have been cut up by the chainsaw crew.  Please contact Brian Foley if you can help with this effort.

Volunteer hours serve double duty

Dear ski area volunteers,

LANL has a program for employees and retirees, where they donate $1 for every hour that people work on volunteer activities for non-profit and/or educational organizations.  If you sign up and register your hours at:

LANL will make a donation at the end of the year to the organization(s) you choose.
For example you can work at the ski area but ask that your donation go to the boyscouts or the ski patrol or some other organization.

It is a bit of a trouble to get going with the program, signing up and all.  But it allows you to make a repeating thins with an “I do this regularly” button.  For example, I set it up to log me for 4 hours every Tuesday night for a couple of months in the summer.

If you have any questions about this system, write to me, or to Deb Wersonic
Debbi Wersonick <> she is the LANL Volunteer effort coordinatior (not for the ski area, for all LANL volunteers).

And thanks again for all your efforts on the ski area!!!

Brian Foley

Chairs rebuilt! Ready for 2012-13 season!

The Townsight Quad chair and Lone Spruce double chair have been rebuilt and are ready for the 2012-2013 season.

All of the 2,000 tree seedlings planted in September are surviving, thanks to watering efforts and some good rains.  Snow fencing built from fire-killed trees have been built on upper Compromise to hold snow from the wind.  The Lone Spruce and Townsight chairs are rebuilt and ready to run.

Nearly 2,000 tree seedlings planted!

John Hogan organized a tree planting in the burned areas of the ski area.  He got a grant from REI and help from the Pajarito Environmental Education Center to organize this event.  We had a great turnout, with more than 100 volunteers showing up, unexpected considering everything else that was going on (school sports, Next Big Idea Festival) . Volunteers planted just over 1,900 Englemann spruce, Douglas fir, corkbark fir, and a few limber pine. Based on plantings following other fires, 33% survival is probably realistic.  We watered most of them on Saturday with firefighter backpack pumps.  John Hogan watered them again for about 3-4 hrs. Monday.  The 325 gallon water tank on the ski area tank truck is now parked at the top of Chair 2 (Big Mother lift).  Two of the pump packs are also no the back of the truck; The remaining two pumps are behind the sheds at the base of Chair 1. A few of the planters inquired about watering, so John Hogan will try to organize some watering parties.

Chainsaw work is going well, continuing.

The chainsaw crew has done very well this summer.  We have cleaned up most of the burned forest west of I Don’t Care, plus many other areas on the mountain.  We have been working Tuesday evenings and usually have as many volunteers turning out as we have chainsaws available.   We have just one Tuesday night left before the October 13th Pit BBQ Work Party.  Contact Brian Foley for information if you have any questions.