Aspen History: What’s in a name? |

Aspen History: What’s in a name?

Aspen Historical Society
One b/w photograph of Friedl Pfeifer skiing, 1950-.
Loey Ringquist

The Aspen Times highlighted Friedl Pfeifer in their “People you will like to know” section on Feb. 13, 1947. As the article detailed, “In the great mountains of San Anton in Arlberg, Austria, in 1912, a very small boy was learning to ski. He must have done brilliantly, because his name was Friedl Pfeifer. An instructor at fourteen, he was already well prepared for the victories that have made his name rank among the ski greats of all time. Friedl came to the United States in 1938, to train the Olympic team, at Sun Valley. During the summer of 1939 he met blonde Hoyt Smith, a Salt Lake girl, and they were married the following spring. In 1942 he was inducted into the army and assigned to Aspen’s favorite Tenth Mountain Division. After doing a superb job as travelling instructor in winter warfare, Friedl went overseas and was seriously wounded during the desperate breakthrough into Italy’s Po Valley. The nature of his injury necessitated his immediate removal to the states, where he was finally released from service, in 1945. The rest of Friedl’s story is intimately linked with the present history of Aspen. His good fortune in discovering Aspen has been our good fortune, too. The high orange towers along Aspen Mountain, the breathtaking view from the Sundeck, the miles of magnificent ski terrain have all come to reality mainly because there is a young man who knew a good thing when he saw it, a great dreamer, and even greater skier, Friedl Pfeifer.” The image above shows Friedl Pfeifer skiing in the late 1940s.