Sunday, April 17, 2011


The Base of Aspen Mountain

Aspen is my favorite ski town to hang out in. There are many rich historical buildings, a sense of community, and culture.   On Monday, before the PSIA 50 Year Celebration began, I wondered around the town and joined a friend for lunch.

Aspen was a booming silver mining town in the late 19th century. At that time the town center include banks, a hospital, and an opera house. There are still buildings from the old mining company on the mountain, and locals tell me that the old mine extends 400 feet below the town. By the 1930's the silver production declined and only around 700 residents remained. The people may have left, but the buildings and snow remained.

After WWII Friedl Pfeifer, a member of the 10th Mountain Division who had trained in the area, returned to the area and linked up with industrialist Walter Paepcke and his wife Elizabeth to found Aspen Ski Corporation in 1946 (Wikipedia). Over the next few decades Aspen Ski Corp. expanded to three more mountains; Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass.

The town is now full of many boutiques, ski shops, art galleries, and fine dining. The best winter place to sit and soak in the town is the Ajax Tavern next to the Gondola at the base of Aspen. In fact that is where I met my friend, CP for lunch.

That evening I returned to Snowmass for the PSIA/AASI Welcome Reception and met the group I would be skiing with for the week. We skiied Snowmass, Aspen, and Aspen Highlands over the next 5 days. We didn't ski Buttermilk since it already closed for the season. It was an exceptional week.

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