Modern Aspen: 1961-Present

With the end of the war a fresh new outlook for Aspen emerged with the arrival in 1945 of Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke. The prominent Chicago couple brought vision, culture, a love for the outdoors and financial backing with them and infused modern Aspen with the idea that this was a place where mind, body and spirit could flourish.

The City of Aspen’s municipal Golf Course opens.

The City of Aspen paves 14 downtown blocks. First condominium (Der Berghof) is built in Aspen.

All downtown streets are paved in Aspen. The Brown Ice Palace opens. The Aspen Historical Society is established.

Herbert Bayer designs new music tent. The US Forest Service grants approvals of the Snowmass-at-Aspen Ski Area and the Ruedi Dam project.

The Woody Creek Improvement Association is formed. The Aspen Institute donates land for the Aspen Music Festival School.

Ceramic artist Paul Soldner founds Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village.

Snowmass Ski Area opens with 5 chairlifts and 50 miles of trails. Lift tickets are $6.50. Freddie “The Fixer” Fisher dies. Snowmaking machines introduced at the base on Aspen Mountain on Little Nell.

Elizabeth Paepcke establishes wildlife sanctuary (ACES) at Hallam Lake. First official Aspen Alpine World Cup races are held on Aspen Mountain.

Train service (by now only freight) to Aspen ends on Jan. 29th. Pitkin County Airport begins operating a tower. City and County hire a full-time planner. The State Highway Dept. begins to plan a 4-lane highway 82 from Glenwood to Aspen.

Lift-1A starts running, replacing the original Lift-1 single chair on Aspen Mountain.

The first phase of the pedestrian mall is completed in downtown Aspen. The first Snowmass Village Rodeo is held.

The Town of Snowmass Village is officially incorporated.

Alpine Springs and Wood Run chair lifts open at Snowmass.

Aspen Art Museum opens in former hydroelectric plant building near the confluence of Hunter Creek and the Roaring Fork River.

A restored Wheeler Opera House opens.

The Silver Queen Gondola opens on Aspen Mountain—the longest single-stage gondola in the world.

Ingemar Stenmark wins his 86th and final World Cup race on Aspen Mountain.

Harris Hall opens to critical acclaim. Whip Jones donates Aspen Highlands to Harvard University, which sells it to Gerald Hines, who becomes a partner with the Aspen Skiing Company, which assumes operations of Aspen Highlands. Stuart Mace dies at 74.

Two Creeks base area at Snowmass opens providing quick access to the popular Elk Camp area.

The 50th Anniversary of the Aspen Skiing Company is marked with more than 3,000 employees and 4,700 acres of skiable terrain across four mountains and secures its status as a world-class winter destination.

Snowmass celebrates 30 years of skiing. The Cirque lift opens giving Snowmass the nation’s longest lift-served vertical rise of 4,406 feet. The lift is built in an ecologically sound fashion to protect local animals and their habitat and is the first lift to be operated solely by clean, renewable wind power.

The World Cup returns to Aspen after a three-year hiatus. The Cirque run on Snowmass is renamed “Rocky Mountain High” in tribute to John Denver. Gulfstream 24-Hours of Aspen charity ski race set a new fund raising record of $1.2 million to support Kid’s Stuff (Silver Lining Ranch) and the Aspen Valley Ski Club. Highlands Cafe closes for ever. Construction begins on new Highlands Village. Cloud Nine Cafe debuts on Aspen Highlands.

The 50th Anniversary of the Aspen Music Festival and School. The Sundeck on Aspen Mountain is demolished to be replaced by a new 21,600 square foot mountain-top restaurant. A new Cloud Nine lift is built on Aspen Highlands. A controversial roundabout is completed at the intersection of Highway 82 and Maroon Creek Road with hopes of relieving increased traffic congestion at Aspen’s entrance. There are now 9 traffic lights between Mill St. in Aspen and the first light in Glenwood. A remodeled Isis cineplex theater opens.

The 50th Anniversary of the Aspen Institute. Franz Berko dies. Aspen Music Festival and School dedicates new permanent music tent. The World Cup returns again to Aspen. Isis cineplex theater declares bankruptcy and closes.

The Aspen Historical Society changes its name to HeritageAspen. We’ve stopped counting the traffic lights on Highway 82 from Aspen to Glenwood. The Isis cineplex theater reopens under new management.

Aspen Drug ceases business after over 100 years of service to the community. Miggs Durrance dies at 85.

HeritageAspen changes it name back to the Aspen Historical Society. Dick Durrance dies at 89.

Toklat Gallery moves from Ashcroft to Basalt.

Isabel Mace dies at 87. The original The Silver Queen Gondola cabins are retired to be replaced with larger cabins. Construction of the new Snowmass Base Village begins.

Fossils of mammoths, mastodons, a giant sloth and many other Ice Age animals and plants are discovered during the expansion of the Ziegler Reservoir in Snowmass Village.

The men’s and women’s FIS Ski World Cup Finals are held on Aspen Mountain, marking 50 years of World Cup racing in Aspen.