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A button for every year

Jeremy Heiman

Do you know where your old Winterskl buttons are? Former Aspenite Bruce Carta does.

He lives in Steamboat Springs, now, but he’s kept some memorabilia from Aspen. He has every Winterskl button from 1971 to 2000 – almost.

Carta lived in Aspen from 1980 through 1995, and thoroughly enjoyed himself, especially during Winterskl.

“Winterskl was always a crazy time,” he said.

When he first arrived in Aspen, he went to Winterskl events each year.

“I always grabbed a button, but they always ended up getting thrown away.” He got more interested in the buttons when he noticed people were wearing small collections of previous years’ buttons during the Winterskl parade.

At some point, Carta noticed Winterskl buttons were showing up at yard sales and secondhand stores around town. He started picking them up. Soon he had a nearly complete collection, with the exception of 1981.

“I think I had [the 1981 button at one point], but I didn’t think about saving it,” Carta said. “Now I’m really kicking myself.”

He’s still looking for buttons earlier than 1971 to add to his collection. And he’s got his favorite buttons.

“One year I really remember is the year they didn’t put where it was.” The powers-that-be forgot to put the name “Aspen” on the button that year. “I think that was ’85,” he said. “It had a picture of sunglasses.

“My real favorite button is `Let the Good Times Roll.’ I think it was 1990. That was a good time. I was having a lot of fun there.”

One of his other favorites, he said, is the year the button featured a picture of ski bum Ralph Jackson.

Carta doesn’t have his collection prominently displayed. It’s put away in a box, now, he said. But he joked that he once had delusions of selling the collection for a small fortune.

“I thought I’d sell it for $10,000 or something, and get rich and retire to Aspen,” he said. “But then I realized that wouldn’t even be one month’s rent in Aspen.”

Carta always submitted suggestions for the Winterskl slogan, but his were never selected. For next year, he has an idea for a button design: a snowboarder on the Silver Queen Gondola.


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