The Skiing Boom: 1961-1986

In the 1960s and ’70s Aspen was again thriving, thanks in large part to skiing, the new “boom” industry, as well as new cultural and recreational attractions. The population rebounded, often resulting in tensions between conservative locals and newcomers, especially the “hippie culture.”

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. acquired Buttermilk and merged the ski schools.

Herbert Bayer designs a new music tent, later named the Bayer-Benedict 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 in conjunction with the Roch Cup.

Train service (by now only freight) to Aspen ends on Jan. 29th. Pitkin County Airport begins operating a control 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. Citizens for Community Action formed, a group advocating for liberal policies and growth control.

Sam’s Knob restaurant is expanded and Cafe Suzanne is built at Snowmass. Hunter S. Thompson runs for Sherriff on the “Freak Power” ticket. Eve Homeyer begins term as first female mayor of Aspen.

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

Intermittent public bus transit begins. Dwight Shellman and Joe Edwards elected as Pitkin County commissioners on a growth control platform. Colorado voters voted against funding the 1976 Olympics.

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. Aspen celebrates 100 years.

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

Aspen Ski Corp. changes its name to Aspen Skiing Company. Snowmaking is used for the first time for World Cup races in Aspen.

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.