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.”

1961
The City of Aspen’s municipal Golf Course opens.

1962
The City of Aspen paves 14 downtown blocks. First condominium (Der Berghof) is built in Aspen.

1963
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.

1964
Herbert Bayer and Fritz Benedict design new music tent. The US Forest Service grants approvals of the Snowmass-at-Aspen Ski Area and the Ruedi Dam project.

1965
The Woody Creek Improvement Association is formed. The Aspen Institute donates land for the Aspen Music Festival School.

1966
Ceramic artist Paul Soldner founds Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village.

1967
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.

1968
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.

1969
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.

1970
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.

1971
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.

1972
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.

1973
The first phase of the pedestrian mall is completed in downtown Aspen. The first Snowmass Village Rodeo is held.

1975
The no-credit, all-fun college of the Rockies, also known as “Aspen State Teachers College” is founded.

1977
The Town of Snowmass Village is officially incorporated.

1978
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.

1979
Aspen Art Museum opens in former hydroelectric plant building near the confluence of Hunter Creek and the Roaring Fork River. Aspen celebrates 100 years.

1980
The “Rodeo Lot” at Snowmass is developed for day skiers.

1981
Aspen Ski Corp. changes its name to Aspen Skiing Company

1982
Harry Holmes becomes President of Aspen Skiing Company

1983
Snowboarding is allowed on Aspen Highlands. The Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) is established.

1984
A restored Wheeler Opera House opens. Jerry Blann becomes President of Aspen Skiing Company.

1985
Snowboarding is allowed on Buttermilk

1986
The Silver Queen Gondola opens on Aspen Mountain—the longest single-stage gondola in the world.