1984: Highlands Bowl opens for heli-ski
August 3, 2006
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. Highlands Bowl opens for heli-skiThe long awaited Highlands helicopter ski tours of the Highlands Bowl – initially slated to begin last winter, but cancelled because of poor snow conditions – are scheduled to start tomorrow, according to Highlands Marketing Director Bill Brehmer.The tours will offer expert skiers a chance to ski 2,000 vertical (and we do mean vertical) feet of extremely challenging powder snow, while still remaining with-in territory covered by the Highlands Ski Area permit-and almost within Aspen city limits. Skiers on the tours will be carried by a five-passenger, twin engine, jet-powered French Aerospatiale helicopter, operated by Trailwinds Aviation.As Brehmer notes, the tours are not for everyone. Skiers will have to pass a rigorous qualification program before they are allowed to make reservations for the helicopter trips.The process will take two days, the first for qualification, the second for the actual tour.QualificationsIn Order to qualify, skiers will have to pass the Gold (or expert) level of the Star Test, which is administered by the Highlands Ski School.Following the Star Test, prespective heli-skiers will have to ski the Steeplechase area at Highlands along with a Highlands instructor.If skiers perform well on the Star Test and the Steeplechase skiing, they will be eligible for the heli-ski tours.Tours will start with the skiers being picked up by the helicopter at the top of the Loges Lift at Highlands at 10:45 am.The copter will carry the skiers to the edge of the Highlands Bowl for their first run, then pick them up at the bottom of the bowl and ferry them back to the top for subsequent runs. Each day’s tour is expected to last about three hours and to include about three runs down the bowl.Extra runs will be available for an extra charge.Since the copter carries a pilot, a ski patrolman/guide, and three skiers, the tours will be offered to groups of six, nine, or 12 skiers.It’s Not CheapFor a group of six, the cost is $200 each, for nine it is $175 apiece, and for 12, $150 each. The prices include a lift ticked for the day.Partial groups will be allowed to take the tours, but they will have to pay higher individual charges, in order to make up the full cost for the next largest group. (That is, a group of seven skiers would have to pay a total of $1,575, the total charge for a group of nine.)Brehmer, incidentally, urges local skiers to take the qualifying tests for the tours, so that they can be on call in unfilled groups are looking for extra skiers in order to lower their individual costs.Because the safety of the tours depends on vagaries of weather and snow conditions, the tours will not necessarily run every day.Even when scheduled, tours can be cancelled at any time right up to the start of the tour and, in fact, during the tour itself.Payment for the tours must be made in advance and in full, but if the tour is cancelled by the Highlands, skiers will be eligible for a refund (a full refund if cancellation comes before the tour starts, a partial refund if cancellation comes during the tour).If a skier, however, cancels his reservation, he will forfeit his entire payment, unless the Highlands can fill the vacant seat.
First National Bank in Aspen was among a group of banks sold to a Cleveland-based bank holding company by D H Baldwin Co, which is undergoing bankruptcy reorganization.The Aspen bank, along with a Glenwood Springs and another in Grand Junction, is owned by Central Bancorp, Inc, of Denver. Through a partnership, Baldwin had a 95% interest in CBI, which it sold in the transaction.Ameritrust, the $6 billion corporation that bought Baldwin’s share in CBI, paid Baldwin $105 million for the share.In other bank news, the Bank of Aspen has been sold to two investors from Minneapolis.The buyers are Stephen Adams and John Morrison. Adams is the major shareholder and chairman of the board of the Bank of Montana systems, and also owns the First National Bank of Eagle, Colo.Morrison is the owner and chairman of the board of the Minneapolis Group, a group of banks and thrift institutions in the Minneapolis-St Paul area.For a more detailed story on this transactions, see the story in section A.Both sales are contingent on approval by the Federal Reserve Board, and the Baldwin transaction must be approved by the court handling the Baldwin bankruptcy.
It is now less than two weeks until the Olympic cycling teams of 16 nations will arrive in Aspen for a day of all-out racing in the Coors Classic – the final pre-Olympic tune up.”These are the Olympic athletes,” says local race organizer Mark Joseph. “They’re going straight from the Coors to Los Angeles.”The national team racers, both men and women, will be here on Wednesday, July 18, to race on a 3.5-mile circuit course right in the heart of Aspen.The women’s field of 40 will start at 9 am on Main Street, at Paepcke Park.Their course will take them out of town at first, on a race to Maroon Lake, and then, when hey return from the lake, the field will race for five laps on the in-town course.The women are expected to finish shortly before 11 am and then, shortly after 11, the 130 men will start their race of 18 laps around the course.Averaging over 30 MPH, with sprints up to 40 MPH, the men should complete their 65-mile race in about two hours.The tight course, with narrow sections and frequent turns, should provide fascinating race watching says Joseph.Because the course is a circuit, race watches will see the field passing time and time again and will be able to follow the progress of the races as they battle for position.