From the Vault: Backcountry Basics

One b/w photograph of a group of spring skiers at Montezuma Basin in the early 1950s. The old mill buildings are at the edge of the photograph. A dog sled team is laying in the snow, and several pairs of skis are also visible.

“Know the rules when touring high country,” cautioned The Aspen Times on April 13, 1950. “Spring time is touring time around Aspen and Aspenites and visitors should know the rules necessary to play that game safely and pleasantly. Last week, a broken leg to a visiting touring skier above Montezuma Basin taught several of a group skiing in that area a few of the rules the hard way. Stuart Mace was called upon to take his dog team in to bring out the injured man. Since he is the last man on the trail, and we mean the last stop on the way to the high country, and the first man called on for help in case of accident he is entitled to know who is risking life and limb on the high slopes. Common courtesy demands that they stop and give him that information. Skiers expecting to use the Tagert Ski hut must make arrangements with Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Bayer who live in Aspen for the key and use of the facilities there. They are acting for the National Ski Association which received the hut as a gift from William C. Tagert, who owns the Montezuma mine and mill buildings. And the Montezuma Mill has been leased to Stuart Mace for storing supplies and equipment for his work of conducting sled tours of the high country. Aspenites who should know the high country and the proper way to enjoy it must inform skiers from out-of-town on the rules of common courtesy. Persons living as far away as Aspen have a stake in the conduct of the skiers making these trips for in case of accidents or snow slides, the whole country will be called upon for help. After injuries or accidents, the injured and their companions are not at all bashful in calling for help and assistance where before they were mighty independent and scornful.” The photograph above shows a group of spring skiers at Montezuma Basin in the early 1950s.

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

Aspen Times Weekly

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