Modern Aspen: 1961-Present

In the 1960s and 70s Aspen was again thriving, thanks in large part to skiing, the new “boom” industry. The population rebounded, often resulting in tensions between conservative locals and newcomers, especially the “hippie culture.” As the community grew, so did the tourism industry. Today, travelers from across the globe are attracted to Aspen for it’s history, cultural and recreational opportunities, and natural beauty.

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. Aspen Ski Corp. leases operation at Buttermilk.

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, 50 miles of trails, and a shelter restaurant at Sam’s Knob. Lift tickets are $6.50. Snowmaking machines introduced at the base on Aspen Mountain on Little Nell.

Elizabeth Paepcke establishes wildlife sanctuary (ACES) at Hallam Lake. The 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. The local City and County governments hire a full-time planner. The State Highway Dept. begins to plan a 4-lane highway 82 from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. The Funnel Chair is built at Snowmass.

Sam’s Knob restaurant is expanded and Cafe Suzanne is built at Snowmass. Hunter S. Thompson runs for Sherriff on the “Freak Power” ticket

Lift-1A starts running, replacing the original Lift-1 single chair on Aspen Mountain. Rubey Park is purchased for a bus system.

Intermittent public bus transit begins.

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

The no-credit, all-fun college of the Rockies, also known as “Aspen State Teachers College” is founded

The Town of Snowmass Village is officially incorporated.

Alpine Springs and Wood Run chair lifts open at Snowmass. Aspen Ski Corp. is sold to 20th Century Fox and Tom Richardson succeeds DRC Brown after his retirement as President of the company.

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

The “Rodeo Lot” at Snowmass is developed for day skiers.

Aspen Ski Corp. changes its name to Aspen Skiing Company

Harry Holmes becomes President of Aspen Skiing Company

Snowboarding is allowed on Aspen Highlands. The Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) is established.

A restored Wheeler Opera House opens. Jerry Blann becomes President of Aspen Skiing Company.

Snowboarding is allowed on Buttermilk

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

Bob Maynard becomes President of Aspen Skiing Company. Snowboarding is allowed on Snowmass.

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.

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. Pat O’Donnell becomes President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Company.

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. Aspen Music Festival and School dedicates new permanent music tent. The World Cup returns again to Aspen. Isis cineplex theater declares bankruptcy and closes.

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. Snowboarding is allowed on Aspen. The Winter X Games is hosted in Aspen for the first time.

Aspen Drug ceases business after over 100 years of service to the community.

HeritageAspen changes it name back to the Aspen Historical Society.

Toklat Gallery moves from Ashcroft to Basalt.

The original The Silver Queen Gondola cabins are retired to be replaced with larger cabins. Construction of the new Snowmass Base Village begins. Mike Kaplan becomes President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Company.

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 City of Aspen passes a “Plastic Bag Ban.” The Merry Go Round is renovated on Aspen Highlands.

Cafe Suzanne is torn down and replaced by a new Elk Camp Cafe at Snowmass. Colorado voters approve Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana for recreational use and regulating sales and tax income. The vote marked an
electoral first in the United States and worldwide. The Hotel Jerome undergoes significant renovations.

The commercial sale of marijuana to the general public began on January 1, 2014 at licensed establishments throughout the state, including several stores in Aspen.

The City of Aspen accomplishes its goal to source 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2015, becoming the third municipality to do so in U.S. After 30 years, the original fixed-grip, double chair High Alpine lift is upgraded to a high-speed quad chair and slightly relocated. Cloud Nine restaurant is renovated on Aspen Highlands. The Wheeler Opera House undergoes significant renovations.

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.