25-50 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50 years ago

Sara Garton

It was announced on Nov. 17, 1955, in The Aspen Times that the Worlds Longest Lift would be open on weekends. A skier rides up Aspen Mountain and over the Aspen Ski Club shack. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

Every ski-town newspaper editor hopes to run the headline in mid-November that ran on the front page of the Nov. 17, 1955, Aspen Times: “Aspen Has 20 Inches New Snow, Lifts Will Run Weekends.”Mr. Harold (Red) Rowland, manager of the Ski Corporation, has announced that the World’s Longest Lift {see photo] will be open this next Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19 and 20, and Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 27th.This will give locals and visiting skiers weekends to enjoy the marvelous fall of snow experienced this week. At this writing there is about 20 inches of snow on the level in Aspen, and that’s more than we had at any one time during the last skiing season. …[T]he announcement has been made that the lifts will be in daily operation from Dec. 3rd on. …Mrs. Ellie Hellmund, [secretary of the Chamber of Commerce], also is urging all Aspenites who ski to help in the important job of packing the courses. Most of the skiing the rest of the winter depends on the base laid down after the first good snow, and we’ve had it brother! All 20 or more inches of it this week.The wounds inflicted on the community by the entire hospital board of trustees’ resigning in protest when the board of county commissioners did not support a proposed mill levy to build a new hospital were still raw. The commissioners published a long statement on the front page of the paper, which concluded,The Commissioners are in agreement with the Hospital Board of Trustees that a new hospital would be a very desirable improvement. However, the Commissioners are not convinced that the construction of a new hospital at this time or in the near future is a matter of necessity. We recognize that the State Board of Health has been urging this construction, but at the same time, we are now advised that new hospital construction ranks third in priority, according to the Health Department, after installation of water purification equipment and sewage disposal facilities at and near Aspen. The Commissioners, of course, do not have the responsibility for, nor control of financing for either water purification or sewage disposal, but these factors deserve consideration in that the cost of such improvements must ultimately be paid by residents in and about Aspen, thereby affecting the cost of owning property and the ability to pay taxes.

The local ski teams had been grunting through dryland training for more than a month. The paper reported,Long before most of us have even begun to seriously consider ski conditioning, Aspen’s city cross country team is deep into a five-day-a-week routine of calisthenics, jogging and sprinting. …[Coach Raoul] Wille, a veteran of the United States national team from 1970-1973, said he had several team members with a good chance of making the junior national team.

Wille mentioned Annie Pausback and her sister, Lizzie, Annne Richardson, Edmund Shapiro and Raoul’s brother, Pierre, as having good chances of making the national team. After a humorous write-in campaign for The Aspen Times’ cartoon newt, Sal A Mander, against unopposed District Attorney Chuck Leidner, Leidner emerged victorious in the November election, until …

Less than a week after winning his first full term as district attorney, Charles Leidner is ready to leave his job as soon as he can get his house sold.Leidner, 37, told the Rocky Mountain News Wednesday that he plans to quit the $31,000 post primarily because of the abuse he and his family have received for prosecuting drug dealers in the Roaring Fork Valley.

If and when Leidner quits, a replacement would be appointed by Governor Lamm.In April, Leidner’s wife, CeCe, was involved in a minor traffic accident following a telephone threat. Leidner has reported numerous threats to himself and his family since he declared he would run for re-election in February.”Thirty-one thousand dollars is not enough money to put up with that bullshit,” Leidner said. Leidner became the center of controversy in 1979 after a Drug Enforcement Administration sweep netted 32 alleged drug dealers in the Aspen area. Of that toll, only eight wound up serving time in jail, while most plea bargained for probation.Since then Leidner and county sheriff Dick Kienast, an outspoken opponent of undercover drug investigations, have clashed frequently through the media.

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