Perennial favorite Tony Zollinger grabs the Open Mod title during the Afton Hillclimb March 2018. (Star Valley Ridge Riders)

STAR VALLEY, WYO – The Forest Service is contemplating issuing a permit to allow a popular snowmobile event in Phillips Canyon to continue for the next five years.

The Greys River Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is seeking comments on re-issuing a recreation event permit. The permit would allow for the continued use of the Phillips Canyon area in Grover Park for an annual February three-day snowmobile Hill Climb. This event has been held on the National Forest for approximately 20 years now, and provides a positive economic boost for local communities during a slower season.

Local volunteer organization, Star Valley Ridge Riders snowmobile club, is the host and project proponent that would hold this permit. Event design criteria have been developed over the years to address a variety of resource concerns, including wildlife and watershed protections.

BTNF’s Jon Vladimirtsev said event organizers have been a cooperative partner with the Forest Service and his agency has had no problems with the event in the past.

Given the unpredictable amount of snow on the hill from year to year, and even across a single winter, the requirement for an average of at least 18 inches of snow prior to the event start can present a challenge.

Several years ago, the snow slid off the face of the slope used for the event, and the location had to be moved to the ski area outside Cokeville, which was farther from Star Valley businesses. Packing the hill earlier has been allowed under permit waivers, and appears effective in retaining sufficient snow depths for the event.

The next Afton Simplot Hill Climb is scheduled for February 15-17, 2019.

Anyone with questions should call Jon Vladimirtsev at 307-886-5323. For inclusion in the permitting decision, please send comments to prior to December 21.