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January 7, 2010
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25-50-100 years ago...

Area prospectors waiting out the winter in Aspen were itching to get back into the hills a century ago. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:While it is yet early, many of our prospectors are beginning to experience what is known among the old-timers as "foot-itch" - that is the desire to tramp the hills is beginning to take possession of them. They believe from weather indications we will have an early spring and are beginning to get their kits together and plan for the summer's work. In many cases, they will be closely followed up by the men who make the big holes in the ground. That much neglected portion of our county known as the Difficult district has about passed the prospecting era and the coming summer will see miners at work developing many of the properties located by the hardy prospectors who have scratched the surface in past years."Political honor an unknown quantity," read a headline in The Aspen Democrat-Times a century ago, accusing county commissioners of doing business like "mugwumps." The newspaper reported: Since the consolidation of The Democrat and The Times, it has been the policy of this paper to be independent in politics as in all things. Right is right no matter whom is concerned. Obligations in politics should be as binding as obligations in business matters. This brings us to the point at issue. The board of county commissioners has twice exercised its right in appointing a county physician. Right here we will say we have no fault to find with the present physician. His reputation as a physician is without a flaw and he is a gentleman. But, in making its selection for this important office, the board has twice passed up Dr. C.W. Judkins, a gentleman and learned and well-qualified physician. In addition to this, Dr. Judkins is an old and well tried Democrat and is an ex-chairman of the Democrat county central committee, and in all honor was entitled to the appointment at the hands of commissioners who were elected as Democrats. The friends of Dr. Judkins and the whole people feel that he has been treated shabbily by a board of Democratic commissioners.

Two local skiers were headed to the Olympics 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:The men and women who will represent this country in the Alpine ski events at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley were selected this afternoon. The difficult task of picking the six girls and eight boys to compose the team fell to teach coaches Bill Beck and Dave Lawrence. The decision was then confirmed by the Olympic Ski Games Committee. It culminated four weeks of intensive training here by the nine girls and 12 boys who won places on the training squad. The training ended this week with a series of tryout races. Two racers from Aspen, Max Marolt and Chuck Ferries, were among the eight men picked to carry U.S. colors at the Games.Talk of running a steam train in the Roaring Fork Valley was again in the news in early 1960. The Aspen Times reported: Another step in the acquisition of an old-time steam train to run between Glenwood Springs and Aspen was taken this week when an organizing committee to explore the launching of a new railroad company was formed. The action was taken Wednesday evening, Jan. 6, at a meeting of local residents in the Hotel Colorado at Glenwood Springs. Appointed chairman of the new committee at that time was Walt Thrall. He was instructed by the participants at the session to go to Denver with a group from the committee to meet with G.B. Aydelott, president of the Rio Grande Railroad. Formation of the new railroad company would hinge largely on charges made by the Rio Grande for use of its track. At Wednesday's session, Thrall, who has been the driving force behind the local steam train idea, told the group that $80,000 would be needed to purchase the rolling stock and provide capital for the new venture.

"To skiboard or not to skiboard?" was the headline in The Aspen Times 50 years ago, as ski areas grappled with the fledgling discipline now known as snowboarding. The Aspen Times reported: On the one hand are scowling insurance companies; on the other, eager enthusiasts of a potentially popular winter sport. In the middle are the local ski areas, scratching their heads and puzzling over the situation... . Nobody seems to know what to make of skiboards, but all of a sudden local ski areas are realizing it's time they came up with a position. Skiboard supporters say the gadgets are the most viable alternative to alpine skiing since three-pins, and this season they've launched a deliberate, intelligent publicity campaign to get them sanctioned on Aspen area ski slopes. ... Aspen Highlands, which for the past two winters has allowed the boards on its lifts, made the first move. Prompted by its insurance company, the ski area had to disinvite snowboarders. Any reconsideration of that stance is "on the back burner," according to marketing director Bill Brehmer. The Aspen Skiing Co., meanwhile, has recently awakened to the existence of skiboards and has now begun to study their compatibility with conventional skiing. ASC personnel seemed impressed by a demonstration of the boards at Buttermilk on Monday. But the company is following a cautious process of analysis, and until a final decision is made, ASC's mountains are off-limits to skiboards.The slopes were busy during the holidays 50 years ago. The Aspen Times reported: The volume of skiers spending the holidays in Aspen broke a number of Aspen Skiing Co. records, and local businesses say the holiday season was, indeed, successful. Jack Brendlinger, spokesman for the Aspen Skiing Co., said the number of skiers on the slopes for the three-week period beginning Dec. 15 broke the all-time record for that period, set in 1978, by 6 percent. And this year's figure was up 13 percent over the last holiday season, Brendlinger said. On Dec. 29 and 30, the one-day record was broken as 16,400 skiers flocked to Aspen, Buttermilk and Snowmass mountains. The following day, there were 17,600 skiers, Brendlinger said. At Aspen Highlands, the holiday figures were up 13.8 percent over last year, according to Pat O'Connor. To date, the season figures are up 15 percent over last year, O'Connor said. - compiled by Janet Urquhart


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The Aspen Times Updated Jan 13, 2010 05:40PM Published Jan 7, 2010 07:57PM Copyright 2010 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.