1985: SkiCo OKs snowboarding
August 7, 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. We are running 1985 today after the installment for 1986 was published Saturday.SkiCo OKs SnowboardingThe Aspen Skiing Company has decided to allow snowboards on Buttermilk on a trial basis, beginning this Saturday.Weve concluded that wed like to try an experimental period basically for the rest of the season, says public relations director Jack Brendlinger.He notes that mountain managers who gathered at Buttermilk a few weeks ago were generally impressed and decided to give the go-ahead.During the trial period, Brendlinger says, snowboarders will have access only to lifts 4 and 5 at Buttermilk. Theyll have to buy the usual lift ticket or host-pass validation. He also notes that snowboarding will be allowed to use Buttermilk only if they have what the ski company considers adequate retention devices. That means and binding or safety strap which secures the board to at least one leg at all times (including loading and unloading) mere toe straps arent good enough. According to ski company spokeswoman Happy Abbott, the bindings on the new Burton snowboards, for example, are acceptable.Brendlinger says the ski companys future policy on snowboards will depend on how well the trial program goes this winter. (January 1985)Smoking ban draws little protestWhat came in as a lion has become a lamb. The much contested smoking ban went into effect Saturday in the city of Aspen and there hasnt been so much as a whimper of protest, at least officially.During a casual stroll around town, the worst criticism of the ban, which effectively eliminates smoking in public places, was that such a measure had to be legislated.Tim Cottrell, owner of the Smuggler Land Office, a popular bar and restaurant, said the ban should have been voluntary. The fact that it has become just another city regulation ruffled some feathers, he said.Other restaurant and bar owners feel the same. Restaurants and bar owners feel the same. Restaurants and bars often seem overloaded with government controls, and many owners expressed frustration at the level of regulation they are forced to put up with Aspen. But as far as the smoking ban damaging business or infuriating business people. It hasnt happened… yet. No formal protests have been filed with the citys Environmental Health Dept, and no infractions have yet been cited. (October 1985)Grabow saga ends in bomb blastThe saga of Steven Hunt Grabow, a story that had in many ways taken on mythic proportions in this mountain resort, came to an abrupt end this week when a bomb blast tore through a borrowed Jeep and killed the reputed drug ring mastermind.For the second time in less than two years, Aspen made headlines around the nation as a result of barbaric violence visited on a well-known member of the community.But this incident sent shock waves deeper, seemingly, than the killing of controversial local investor Michael Hernstadt in 1984.For Grabows death was no crime of passion, as the other killing has been called.Although police decline to discuss the possible motives of Grabows killer, but admit that it definitely was murder, rampant speculation lays the blame for Grabows death on his alleged association with cocaine kingpins and their hirelings. Grabows death comes just over a month before he was to stand trial in US District Court in Denver, accused of being the brains behind a drug ring that brought $35 million in cocaine into Aspen every year.Grabow and seven others were indicted by a federal grand jury in November of 1984, alleging involvement in a cocaine ring that stretched from Florida to Hawaii. (December 1985)Like a Rifle ShotThe murder happened at approximately 9pm on Sunday, Dec 8, in a small parking lot adjacent to the Aspen Club, a local health club.According to accounts gleaned from police reports and interviews, Grabow, 38, had been playing tennis with friends that evening. Grabow, who called himself an investor, was a sports enthusiast who regularly skied, played tennis and golfed.After joking and talking with other club members and club employees following the game, he left to drive home in a Jeep borrowed from a friend, Richard Perez.Moments later, a load report was heard and witnesses rushed out to Grabow lying on the ground next to the Jeep, still alive but not conscious.Several people living nearby reported the explosion sounded more like a rifle shot than a bomb blast.Police and an ambulance were called, and Grabow was pronounced dead at Aspen Valley Hospital at 10:45pm, police reported, of massive internal injuries and cardiac arrest.Police have refused to comment on the exact nature of his injuries or on the placement of the bomb, but hospital sources have indicated the blast came from under Grabow as he was seated in the car.Police also have refused to say exactly what kind of bomb caused the blast, which did little outwardly noticeable damage to the Jeep.Wife not PresentGrabows wife, Linda, was said to have been at the Aspen Club earlier in the evening but had left before the tennis game ended. The couple lived at the corner of Highway 82 and McSkimming Road, directly across from the entrance to the club grounds. Friends said police threw a protective net around Lisa immediately after the bombing and searched the couples $500,000 home the following day for bombs.