Editor’s note: Copies of The Aspen Times from October 1903 until 1911 are missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives and the Pitkin County Library’s microfilm reels. In order to continue our journalistic history of Aspen, we will copy excerpts from The Aspen Democrat, the Times’ competitor 100 years ago.
These days, the ratio of real estate agents to Aspen residents seem out of proportion. In 1904, it was barbers who were running amok. The Democrat wrote,
The number of barber shops in Aspen has increased out of all proportion to the increase of male population since the populistic era.
The Democrat welcomed its newest competition …
The Glenwood News is the name of a new Republican paper to be published in the hot water berg. Editor W. J. Wills promises to keep it as hot as Yampah and occasionally a little hotter ” when referring to the Democrats. Go it brother, we can stand it.
It wasn’t the Maroon Creek Bridge that was in need of repair 100 years ago. The Democrat reported,
It was learned yesterday that the condition of the wagon road bridge over Roaring Fork on the way to the Smuggler mine is in a very dangerous condition. It is understood that in several places the planks have been broken leaving holes large enough to let a wagon wheel through. This is a job for the road overseer to look into.
Forget snow days … how about snow months?
The school at Norre, Miss Kate Skinner, teacher, closed last Friday for a month on account of the bad condition of the roads which the children must travel to and from school. It will open again in May for a two months’ term. This will make eleven months of school for Norre during the 1903-4 term, which is an exceptional record.
Founder of the Braun backcountry huts and longtime Mountain Rescue member, Alfred Braun was in the news 50 years ago for his backcountry exploits.
Rescue parties were sent out from the Sundeck Wednesday when Alfred Braun failed to show up at the Toklat Lodge from a trip from the Sundeck to the Lodge Tuesday afternoon.
Braun left the Sundeck alone Tuesday afternoon on a trip to Toklat Lodge. When he failed to show up there the Ski Patrol was alerted. A small party left the Sundeck Wednesday morning but failed to find him. A larger party of six men left shortly after noon. After finding Braun’s tracks they followed them and arrived at Toklat Lodge about 30 minutes after Braun.
Braun had found the snow deep and heavy and decided to wait out the night on top of the mountain. Before dark he gathered wood enough for the night and made himself as comfortable as possible. The next morning (Wednesday) he waited until a fog lifted, about 10 o’clock before starting the last lap of his journey.
The City Council now meets twice a week, at least. In 1954, the council made the bold move to meet twice a month. The Times reported,
The City Council has decided to meet twice a month instead of only once as in the past. Due to the large number of items that must be discussed and acted upon, the Council named two meeting nights for each month ” the first and third Mondays.
The Council is reserving the period from 8 o’clock on each meeting to hear complaints, suggestions and conferences with the public. …
And issues like this kept the council busy …
A proposed ordinance regulating the renting of rooms and sleeping bags was discussed and tabled until more information on a workable ordinance is presented.
The first direct word from Washington about the hearings conducted by the house subcommittee on Reclamation and Irrigation was received in Aspen via telegram 50 years ago. It read:
Hearings over at noon. Feel encouraged. Made proponents angry. Biese [attorney for the Water Development Assc. of Southeastern Colorado] boiling. Regards, Orest [Gerbaz] and Bill [Chalfant].
Change was on the horizon for the City Council, with the Times offering this advice:
If Aspen’s city council was as preoccupied with municipal problems as it has been with its own salary it could move mountains and would certainly be closer to solving many of its major problems that it is now. Once an interesting example of how a seven-person council operates, the salary debate with its decisions and counter decisions has become a farce.
Discussed at several regular council meetings during the past few weeks, a council salary increase of 100% was tabled at least twice because votes were lacking to push it through. Last week, however, after lengthy debate, the council adopted a compromise raise of roughly 78% from $225 to $400 for members and from $335 to $600 for the mayor, and also promised to let the voters decide if the hike was justified and if the charter should be changed so that all members could enjoy the raises, not just the newly-elected members. …
This example of council vacillation and wasted time is reinforcement for the often repeated opinion of this newspaper that a charter change is needed to reduce the council to five members. For contrary to surface logic, seven members do not make better decisions than do five.
What would they have said about short, shaped skis?
Clif Taylor, the self-proclaimed “missionary” of GLM (graduated length method) ski instruction came to Aspen last week to preach the faith, as he has done for decades.
The faith, according to Taylor, is the still-controversial assertion that short skis are better than long skis for ski instruction, and the man who began experimenting with “shorties” in the 1940s goes so far as to state that the ski schools that still utilize the gliding wedge rather than instant GLM parallel are 30 years behind the times.
Gliding wedge, in the obscure jargon of ski instruction, is what used to be known as the snowplow, and among the ski schools alluded to by Taylor is the high and mighty Aspen Ski School, which considers itself the best in the business.
Taylor came to Aspen to conduct a GLM International certification clinic at Aspen Highlands which, unlike, the Aspen Ski School, has firmly embraced “the faith.”
Aspen, the ski resort, was in its heyday 25 years ago. The Times reported,
The Aspen ski season of 1978-1979 has been close to last year’s record season, according to Jack Brendlinger of the marketing department of the Aspen Skiing Corporation.
He said that although final figures are not in … the season will probably show a 2% increase overall.
“The biggest day of this season was Dec. 29, 1978, with a count of 14,622 skiers on all three mountains … Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass. This compares to the biggest day of last season with a count of 15,843 skiers one day also during Christmas week.”
And with that news, the Skiing Corporation made the following announcement:
A $4 million summer improvement program, the largest ever, has been announced by the Aspen Skiing Corporation … the noticeable changes will be limited to the Alpine Springs section of Snowmass, where the High Alpine restaurant will be expanded and extensive work will be done on the trails served by the High Alpine lift.
The major single expenditure this summer will be at the corporation’s ski area in Breckenridge, where a new lift will be built.
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Swift Communications, the parent company of The Aspen Times and other Colorado mountain town newspapers, is selling its local media and publishing businesses to West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers, the companies announced Tuesday morning.