Aspen History: Ski Patrol Toboggan Race |

Aspen History: Ski Patrol Toboggan Race

Aspen Historical Society
One mounted b/w photograph of a ski patrol race in the early 1950s. The toboggan has a brake on the back- formerly, tobaggans were controlled by ropes. There is a large crowd of people on skis watching the race. The first race was held in April of 1952; starting the next year, the date was changed to coincide with Winterskol.

‘”Toboggan race? Yes!’,” exclaimed The Aspen Times on April 10, 1952. “Aspen’s going to make history again, this time with what is believed to be the first Ski Patrol Toboggan Race ever to be held in the world. This spectacular event- the first annual Bill Grove Toboggan Race- is scheduled for next Saturday at one o’clock, down Ajax Mountain from the Sun Deck to the end of Spar Gulch. Five two-man teams from the Aspen Ski Patrol will tackle the speedy run: Tom Weld and Earl Eaton, Bob Grasing and Al Lewis, Tom Carter and Lefty MacDonald, Jim Parry and Don Flynn, Dick McCrudden and Roy Parker. Their sponsors will be the Golden Horn, the Red Onion, Louie’s Liquors, Matthew Drug Co., and the Ski and Spur. Toboggans which hitherto have been used solely for bringing accident victims down the mountain will this day be seen in a new role. With one patrolman riding the rear without skis and the other skiing and steering, the long sleds will shoot down the hill, leaving the starting point at one minute intervals. It is unfortunate that snow conditions force the Patrol to run the race high on the hill, where only skiers and spectators who post themselves at Midway can see the boys whizz by. If the present plan works out, the second annual race will be run next winter earlier in the season when it can finish on the lower slopes.” After this inaugural event, the race became part of the mid-season Wintersköl festivities.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Aspen Times Weekly

See more