Letter: Ajax vs. Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Ajax vs. Aspen

Further to my recent letter about the name “Aspen Mountain” versus “Ajax” (“Name game,” Letters to the editor, The Aspen Times, Aug. 9), let me clarify as follows: “Ajax Hill” as labeled on Josiah Edward Spurr’s geologic map is perhaps slightly larger than the footprint of the Sundeck, but not by much, and may include the Aspen Mountain (as opposed, say, to the “Ajax”) ski-patrol shack. Aspen Mountain consists of Richmond Ridge, Turtelotte Park, Bell Mountain, Spar Gulch, Little Nell, Ruthie’s, Little Annie Basin, Trainor Dumps, Norway and many other named parts, each of which belong to Aspen Mountain. No one locally, either in 1890 or between 1890 and, say, 1955, ever referred to Aspen Mountain as “Ajax.” My best guess is that some 1950s surfer boys from Southern California thought up the name “Ajax” and didn’t take it with them when they (thank God!) left. They certainly didn’t go looking for Spurr’s geologic atlas of (need we say it?) Aspen Mountain.

Another Californian, Bill Janss, new to this valley back in the 1960s, stole the name “Snowmass” when he began to develop the Owl Creek Valley. He named his development “Snowmass-at-Aspen,” which nevertheless has never managed to change the odd fact that the distance from Aspen to Snowmass Village is much greater than the distance from Snowmass Village to Aspen.

Jim Breasted


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