A celebration of ski history | AspenTimes.com

A celebration of ski history

Mari Peyton

If you missed the Tuesday night film party with archival Aspen ski films put on by the historical society, slap yourself in the face with a spring slushball! The turn-away crowd jamming the Wheeler was a joyous assemblage of old-timers dressed in vintage skiwear from various decades.We saw 10th Mountain Division footage and laughed at the long thong bindings, but we recognized the terrain. Wow, downhill races on Niagra! We were taken back to the days when skiing was always a powder adventure, before crowds and grooming and helmets. We relived the crazy ’70s, featuring sun-seared faces with white raccoon-eyes (before SPF was heard of) and locals you might remember partying in bars you also might remember. If you could name the bar in one film, you got a prize. Said bar was the Tippler, which bulldozers just toppled this week. The excavation now reveals the concrete platforms on either side of the long-gone Colorado Midland Railroad. Right there, ore wagons tipped their loads into the freight cars. The Tippler meant nothing to do with drinking … then. More nuggets of naming history:I always thought the Naked Lady run at Snowmass got its name from the sensuous, undulating terrain. Nope. The name came from a centerfold pinup stuck on a tree by the trail-clearing crew. Tiehack. That’s where timber was cut to make railroad ties for the Midland. The workers were called tiehackers. Banzai. You thought it was a bomber’s battle cry? Ah, but once a gnarled, wind-twisted tree grew on that ridge, when Snowmass was just a dream. It looked like a Bonsai. Spelling got a bit twisted, too. The Compromise Mine. A bitter dispute raged in the mining days between the vein followers (apexers) and miners with a surveyed surface claim (sideliners). The legal expenses almost ruined both sides, and neither could continue alone. So they joined up, hence the Compromise, which still operates today, right at the base of Silver Queen. But that’s another story …


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