From the Vault: Open for business

“Record ski crowd seen,” reported The Aspen Times on Nov. 17, 1961. “Packers and lift crew members will be busy at both of Aspen’s major ski areas this weekend preparing slopes and lifts for next Thursday, when lift officials anticipate the largest opening day crowd in Aspen’s history. Several early snows which deposited almost three feet of snow on the upper slopes of both Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands have created an unprecedented interest in early skiing here. Packers have already been busy on the lower slopes at both areas grooming the rougher spots to harden the base and assure the best possible conditions for next week. At the Aspen Highlands the lifts ran last weekend and will run again this weekend for ski packers. Free skiing is open to anyone in exchange for a minimum of two hours work on the trails, Highlands officials announced. Although the lifts have not been running for passengers on Aspen Mountain, local skiers have been jeeping up the Midnight Mine road to the top for the past three weeks and skiing on the upper slopes. Reports give the skiing conditions as excellent, and one instructor stated that the powder on Buckhorn and Ruthie’s was as good as in mid-winter. Heavy snow on Friday should assure virgin powder for Thanksgiving skiers. At the Aspen Highlands Thanksgiving skiers will find three chairlifts in operation, including Little Inch, the world’s shortest chairlift, and one T-Bar. Early snows have slowed work on the new Cloud 9 chairlift and opening date for that lift is not known. However work on the new lift is continuing even in the sub-zero weather, Whip Jones, Highlands owner stated. On Aspen Mountain three of the six chairlifts will operate. They are Number one, two and three, servicing the Mid-way, Sundeck and Tourtelotte Park areas. However, if the crowd warrants it, No. 4 and 5 will also run, Ski Corp officials stated.” In the image above, a person skis past old mining structures on Aspen Mountain in the late 1950s.

This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at