25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Courtesy Aspen Historical Society

Aspen’s football playoff dreams ended last weekend with a loss to Faith Christian, but a century ago, Aspen claimed a gridiron championship, albeit in round-about fashion. The Aspen Democrat-Times reported:

The defeat of the Delta high school football team at the hands of Grand Junction high school Thanksgiving day gave Aspen the undisputed claim to the football championship of the Western Slope.

Delta won the championship of the western division, only to lose it to perhaps the weakest team of the eastern division, when they met defeat at Grand Jucntion Turkey day by the one-sided score of 28-0.

The Aspen team can justly feel proud of the season just closed, as they participated in five games, winning four and losing one. They met defeat at Glenwood in an early season game, which was later wiped out by defeating the same team 6-0 and completely outplaying them. …

Terms of agreement were reached for a game to be played in Delta today. Delta failed to hold to the agreement and stated they would not meet Aspen “under any consideration.” Had Delta beaten Grand Junction, the decisive game was to have been played in Aspen next Saturday.

Once more Aspen has turned out a team which showed the spirit characteristic of 1901 and 1905, during which years championship teams were produced.

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Fifty years ago, Aspen was gearing up for the start of the ski season on Thanksgiving Day, just as it did this year. Aspen Mountain, Highlands and Buttermilk were the local ski areas in those days. The Aspen Times reported:

The start of what could be Aspen’s most prosperous winter is scheduled for Thanksgiving Day.

All three local ski areas will begin operation then, depending on snow conditions.

Lifts number one, two and three on Aspen Mountain will definitely operate daily beginning Thursday, Nov. 26, the office of the Aspen Skiing Corp. announced. There is adequate snow cover on the top part of the mountain and skiing is reported worthwhile.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The remainder of the lifts, including the new number six, will start daily operation as soon as snow conditions permit.

Number six, up the FIS slope, is nearing completion and will be ready when it is needed, the Ski Corp. office explained. The other new Aspen Mountain chairlift, number two, had its trial run recently and will run on Thanksgiving and thereafter.

The Sundeck will begin serving then, but the Skiers’ Cafe will open only if the bottom of the mountain is skiable. …

Although the Highlands ski area was open for several Fridays and weekends this fall, Thanksgiving marks its opening for continuous winter operations if there is enough snow.

Perhaps Aspenites were humming tunes like “Skiin’ In the Mornin’ as they headed for the slopes a half-century ago. Or not. The Aspen Times reported:

Skiing songs sung by Aspenite Bob Gibson can now be heard on monaural and stereo record albums which were released this month.

Called “Ski Songs,” the albums were produced by Elektra Records. Release was timed to coincide with the opening of the ski season, according to the company.

The recording firm called the discs the first albums of their kind.

Included among the selections are several numbers which Gibson popularized during engagements at the Hotel Jerome’s Frontiersman Bar this past summer and winter.

Titles are Celebrated Skier, In This White World, Super Skier, Highlands Lassie, Bend In His Knees, Talking Skier, Ski Patrol, Skiin’ In the Mornin’, Super Skiers Last Race, What’ll We Do and Skol to the Skier.

The folk singer accompanies himself with guitar on the recordings.

Gibson had been an attraction in show business since he was a winner on Arthur Godfrey’s Talen Scouts in 1954. He has been in numerous concerts throughout the country, including a solo appearance at Carnegie Hall.

Proposed expansion of the Wheeler Opera House into the vacant lot next to continues to generate discussion at City Hall. One potential hurdle to the plan was resolved 25 years ago. The Aspen Times reported:

Despite informal council approval in September, a Vietnam veterans memorial will not be installed in the vacant lot west of the opera house, council members learned Monday.

They were informed by letter from the Roaring Fork Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission that objections rasied to use of the land by the Wheeler board and CCLC (Commercial Core and Lodging Commisssion) had persuaded the group to withdraw its request.

The Aspen Ski Club was preparing to revive ski races so the town could, once again, crown the fastest housewife, among other speedsters. The Aspen Times reported:

After an eight-year hiatus, the Aspen Ski Club Championship races will be held on Aspen Mountain Sunday, Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. The races is open to all past, present and future club members.

Back in 1948, when the ski club was already a decade old, a few members thought it would be a good idea to institute a fun race. Categories were predictably unorthodox – the fastest housewife, the fastest “spinster” (single woman,) the fastest businessman over 30, the fastest person on skinny skis. Good-natured rivalries grew out of these races, and they were an annual club event from 1948 to 1976.

But then the race fell victim to modern pressures. The Roch Cup, various regional races and fundraising conspired to eliminate the annual running of the event. The Aspen Ski Club Championships were relegated to the archives, remembered only by longtime locals.

Bryce Maple was the catalyst for the race’s rebirth. A former winner of the “Applejack Jug” (the trophy for the fastest housewife in Aspen), she approached club director Tim Patrick this past summer and asked him if he was ever “going to take back this trophy which has been sitting on my mantel for the past eight years.”

-compiled by Janet Urquhart

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