Mountain Mayhem: 75 Years of Aspen Snowmass |

Mountain Mayhem: 75 Years of Aspen Snowmass

May Selby
Mountain Mayhem
Summer Crown, Jim Crown and Hayley Crown at the 75th anniversary celebration. Jeremy Swanson photo.
The spirited ski parade down Aspen Mountain for the 75th anniversary celebration. Jordan Curet photo.
Skico CEO Mike Kaplan speaks to the community at historic Lift 1 and Willoughby Park. Jordan Curet photo.
Skico's Alex Thomas, Jessi Hackett and Erin Sprague at the 75th anniversary celebration. Jared Harrell photo.
A proper ski town celebration at Lift 1. Jeremy Swanson photo.
ASPENX retail manager Jess Long sporting the Ajax jacket and pant combo. May Selby photo.
Chris Kiley, who recently returned to Aspen to work for Skico as the SVP of planning and development, alongside his wife Krystal and their daughters, Margaret and Beatrice. May Selby photo.
Aspen City Councilman John Doyle and Aspen Mayor Torre at the top of Aspen Mountain for the ski parade. May Selby photo.
Writer Catherine Lutz who has penned many an article about 75 years of skiing in Aspen, alongside Aspen native Pam Moore in her dad's original ski school sweater. May Selby photo.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, was as special a day I can remember in all my years here. Commemorating the 75th anniversary of Aspen Skiing Company with a ski parade open to all Skico staff and the entire community that threaded its way from the top of Aspen Mountain to the original base of Lift 1 and Willoughby Park for a champagne toast, speeches, photo ops and cheer was the perfect “ski town way” to celebrate.

It felt soulful, respectful of our ski town heritage and history, inclusive and just fun. Mother Nature even pitched in with a Colorado bluebird day over the beautifully blanketed slopes.

As all set off from the top of Ajax, it became a sight to remember with skiers and snowboarders sharing the mountain and descending together all the way down Silver Bell to Deer Park to Spar Gulch, around Kleenex Corner to Tower Ten Road, to Norway Island, past Lift 1A, alongside the now dormant Skier’s Chalet and into Lift 1/Willoughby Park. Many participants brandished Skico’s new uniforms – red for instructors, black and orange for patrol, blue for operations and execs and black for sales and marketing and other behind the scenes staff. Many others wore old school threads like wool pants, vintage ski sweaters and I even noticed one skier with a fedora bedecked with ski pins. Chris Kiley, who recently returned to Aspen to work for Skico as the SVP of planning and development, wore an original Skico uniform jacket from his first season here in 1996-97.

All four speeches were full of character and charisma from Skico CEO Mike Kaplan, White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, Aspen Mayor Torre and Jim Crown, managing partner of Aspen Skiing Company and a member of the Crown family who owns Aspen Skiing Company.

I think it’s safe to say Fritz, Fabi, Friedl, Klaus, Stein, D.R.C., Ruthie, Andre, Walter, Elizabeth and so many more of our founding fathers and mothers of Aspen Skiing Company and influential members of our ski town legacy would have approved of and enjoyed the celebration on Jan. 11. The season continues with more occasions to engage and celebrate.

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Aspen Times Weekly

This week in Aspen history

“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.

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