Aspen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen celebrate 50 years as sister cities

Aspen Sister Cities
Special to The Aspen Times
The group from the Roaring Fork Valley along with Garmisch-Partenkirchen City and Sister City officials under the enormous buffalo head that David Stapleton transported to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1966 as Aspen’s gift for the official Sister City initiation ceremony. It has been a prized possession of Garmisch-Partenkirchen for 50 years.
Nancy Gensch/Special to The Aspen Times |

Aspen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, became Sister Cities on Sept. 23, 1966.

This international connection was spearheaded by Gretl Uhl, a Partenkirchen native who moved with her husband, Sepp, to Aspen in 1953. Sepp was a paramount figure in the Aspen Ski School for many years and Gretl’s restaurant on Aspen Mountain (Bonnie’s today), which served up the world’s best apple strudel, became an international legend. Although Aspen now has many Sister Cities, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was its first, and the two cities have had many cultural, work, student, and ski exchanges over the decades.

This year, 15 Roaring Fork Valley residents, including Mayor Steve Skadron of Aspen and Mayor Markey Butler of Snowmass Village, traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen to celebrate the 50th anniversary for a week full of hikes, tours and special dinners, along with a formal reception with the mayor of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and a gala celebration and banquet. A new wooden sculpture, created by a young artist in the internationally known Schnitzschule (wood carving school) in Garmisch, was dedicated in the town’s Aspen Park. Nancy Gensch was awarded the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Silver Medal of Honor for her part in supporting and sustaining the Sister City connection. Trudi Vogt of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Gretl Uhl and Wolf Gensch also were recognized for their contributions during these 50 years. Part of the group continued on to Chamonix, France — also a Sister City of Aspen.

Aspen Sister Cities welcomes participation from Roaring Fork Valley residents. For more information, contact Diane Godfrey at


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