1981: Getting ready for the World Cup
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society. Getting ready for the World CupThe crew of Middle School students foot-packing Aztec [run on Aspen Mountain] were just one of many groups working to pull things together for the Aspen World Cup races – even as the warm weather and lack of snow cast some doubts whether the races [scheduled for March 5-8] could be held at all. (Week of Feb. 19, 1981)”It’s a go! We’re going full bore”That’s the word from the Aspen skiing Corporation – which got its approval this week for the World Cup races from the Federation Internationale du Ski (FIS) technical delegate and is pushing ahead with every bit of equipment at its disposal to get the Aspen Mountain downhill and giant slalom courses ready for next week’s competition. … Warm weather and thin snow cover had left the Aspen Mountain slopes more brown than white last week and led to some doubts about whether the races could be held; but last Friday’s storm, coupled with a general drop in temperature that allowed for effective snowmaking, turned the brown spots white just in time.Russian wins Aspen’s first World Cup downhillValeri Tsyganov of the Soviet Union beat the course, the field and the oddsmakers by finishing first in today’s opening downhill of the Aspen Winternational World Cup races, posting the Russians’ first downhill victory ever in World Cup competition.But behind the surprising Tsyganov, everything was the purest of Old World tradition, with Swiss and Austrians capturing the next eight places. …The fastest U.S. finisher for the day was Pete Patterson, whose time of 1:54:51 left him just outside the top ten.Aspen’s two entries, Dave Stapleton and Mike Farny – whose familiarity with the course led to hopes they might place well – both failed to finish.This week’s heavy snowstorm resulted in softer snow than the icy hardpack best suited for downhill racing, and today’s bright sunshine and warm temperatures softened the snow even further, resulting in deep ruts that developed as the race progressed.Good news for skiersThe Little Annie’s Ski Area took a big leap forward this week when the U.S. Forest service released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which contained the service’s decision to issue a special use permit for full development of the proposed ski area. … In evaluating the 4,500-skier area, the study found some slight problems with the gondola that will provide the only access to the ski area, which is entirely on the upper slopes of the mountain, and traffic congestion in downtown Aspen. …The area will still need approval from both the city and county governments. The proposal will have hearings before the city and county planning and zoning commissions within the next few weeks, with consideration by the City Council and county commissioners scheduled later this year.The proposed ski area will be located on 706 acres on Aspen Mountain with skiing on slopes both east and west of the ridge running directly back from the Sundeck. …The Little Annies’s area will have seven lifts, plus a gondola, which will be the only access to the area, but will not serve any actual ski runs.Restaurants, ski shops and other similar facilities will be all located at the top of the mountain with the bottom of the gondola, transportation terminals and employee housing being the only development within the city. (January 1981)Bad news for skiersRound Three between members of the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission and the developers of a proposed ski area in Little Annie Basin ended with a KO, the paper reported.It was – as promised – a “no” vote for the Little Annie Ski Area at the Pitkin County Planning & Zoning Commission this week.The commission, which had decided at a study session last week that a majority of its members had basic, irreconcilable philosophical objections to the creation of a new ski area, voted 5-0 to approve a resolution recommending that the county commissioners reject the Little Annie’s application. …The resolution noted that the PZ did not agree with the concept that Little Annie’s will draw its skiers almost exclusively from people staying within the city limits of Aspen.It also noted that the commission disagrees with the related concept that Aspen and Snowmass will eventually become separated areas, without much travel between the two, and that Little Annie’s will be needed to balance tourist bed capacity with ski terrain capacity in the Aspen area.The resolution goes on to say that the PZ “believes that the Little Annie Ski Area proposal represents an expansion of the area’s industrial base and as such, represents a significant growth generator.” (March 1981)
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RFTA has a bit of a paradox on its hands. The public bus agency doesn’t anticipate it will haul as many passengers this winter but it needs more buses and drivers than ever. Only 15 people are allowed per bus, so that saps resources.