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March 1978

Ah, the good old days, when March in Aspen meant the town was filled to the brim.



Crowds in the mall, in the grocery, the drugstores, lines forming outside the restaurants, bumper to bumper traffic . not a room to be had in town.




That’s the story of spring skiing 1978 in aspen.

The Aspen Skiing Corporation is reporting record numbers of skiers on its three mountains with a skier count of 14,040 on Monday, March 20, and a skier count of 14,917 on Tuesday, March 21.

The skier count on Aspen Mountain alone on Tuesday, March 21, was 3,475. .

The record skier week ever was a count of 77,000 skier on the Aspen Skiing Corporations’ three mountains during the President’s Birthday Week of Feb 16 to Feb 22.

With gas prices creeping ever higher, it might be prudent to resurrect this idea.

In an effort to encourage car pooling and reduction in air pollution the Aspen Times offered this week to run free classified ads for people seeking to share their cars. .

“Everyone is aware that the automobile is the primary contributor to air pollution and fuel consumption, and all are aware that at some future date measures must be taken, voluntarily or by law. To control these problems,” the announcement stated.

The following item appeared under the headline, “St Patrick’s Day moon” – and a full moon it was.

The luck of the Irish, depending on how you look at it, whether good luck or bad, prevailed last Friday, St Pat’s Day with several arrests ranging from disorderly conduct to indecent exposure, according to Aspen Police Department Sgt Bill Drueding.

During the wee morning hours of March 18, 2:20 am, [a man], 25, Aspen, was arrested for indecent exposure after taking his friends up on a dare, Drueding said.

[He] allegedly dropped his drawers at the intersection of Mill and Main exposing his bare buttocks and genitals to people in front of the Hotel Jerome, Drueding said.

According to the report [the man] did the same thing last year, and was dared to do it again this year. Last year the leprechauns were on his side, he didn’t get caught.

Last week’s America’s Uphill race on Aspen Mountain raised money for the Braun hut system; 25 years ago the Times profiled Fred Braun, the system’s namesake.

A recent issue of Aspen Magazine labeled Fred Braun as Aspen’s “best crusty old altruist.”

Why?

Well, for one thing he is old.

How old? You ask him.

“Too old,” he says and leaves it at that.

For another thing, Braun is founder and director of Aspen’s Mountain Rescue unit, he is founder and former director of the Aspen Valley Ambulance, he oversee the five ski touring huts owned by the US Ski Association, he is a former member of the Aspen City Council, and in his words he has “served on every board” in town.

June 20, 1975 was declared Fred Braun Day in Aspen in recognition of the German immigrant’s years of service to the community.

March 1953

Diverting water from the Western Slope to the Front Range was already news 50 years ago; last week many in Aspen would have liked to see some of the snow that the Front Range received diverted up here.

County Commissioner Orest Gerbaz, Fred Glidden and J. H. Smith, Jr., attended a western slope meeting in Grand Junction Friday night. The purpose of the meeting was to develop the necessary organization in the western slope counties to combat the continuing efforts of others to take the water from this area without first clearly determining if there is excess water available. .

The meeting was characterized by strong sentiment against the request of Denver for 177,000 acre feet of western slope water. Frank Delaney of Glenwood cited figures to show that Denver in fact did not need the water requested and that the demand was unreasonable. .

Orest Gerbaz pointed out that the Western Colorado county Commissioners had passed a strong resolution against diversion and that other groups could take similar action.

A sure sign of growth in and around Aspen was the need for another fire truck.

Citizens of Aspen and the surrounding territory are invited to be present at the Armory Hall Friday, April 3, when the first effort to organize a Rural Fire District will be made. .

Mayor Gene Robison explained that the proposed district, if organized, would include all of Aspen and the surrounding territory possibly as much as a 10-mile radius. . After the purchase of a fire truck and a place to store it, there would be practically no cost except upkeep. Aspen’s truck would be used strictly for in-city calls. The rural truck would be used either in or out of the city as occasion demanded. There would always be a standby truck on duty in the city.

Aspen’s legacy of accomplished mountaineers was getting started in the ’50s.

Bob Craig of Camp Carson and Aspen has been chosen to be a member of an expedition to climb K2, the second highest peak in the Himalayan Mountains, this summer.

The group of seven men from the United States will leave New York City on May 25 and will start out on their expedition from Karachi, India. Dr. Charles Houston of New Hampshire will lead the group; he was leader of a group in 1938 which attempted to climb the same peak. .

K2 has an elevation of 28,250 feet and is one of the two most technically difficult to climb. It was first surveyed by English surveyors in 1873 and there have been four major attempts to climb it before this one.

March 1903

Today’s oft-repeated sentiment regarding Colorado’s climate – If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes – was expressed a bit more poetically by the Times a hundred years ago.

Aspen enjoyed six separate and distinct kinds of weather yesterday. Part of the time the sky was lowering and covered with gray snow-clouds. Part of the time a chill wind blew, part of the time a damp snow fell, and occasionally the sun shone, warm and bright. Old King Winter is up against it good and proper, and he is making his last desperate stand.

A small fire in town almost resulted in unintentionally roasted chickens.

Yesterday an alarm of fire was given at the home of one of the prominent families in the city. Upon investigation it was discovered that an incubator in the cellar had caught from the lamp and was burning up. No damage outside of the stepmother of the chicks was done. The people wish no publicity in the matter and, therefore, the name is omitted.

It certainly seems like a simpler time when one could prove his “manhood” via a sort of ice-cream duel, as reported in the following item.

A day or so ago, when the weather was at its coldest, two young men of the town bantered each other to buy ice cream at Platt’s and then go outside and eat it. Neither would back out and so they sat on the edge of the sidewalk and shivered and ate ice cream, with the thermometer down to zero. Some men passing by suggested that Platt bring them out a cake of ice to sit on. It was a chilly sight. The two boys braved it out and doubtless called themselves fools for doing it.

One wonders what the reporter who wrote the next item – who was fazed by the enthusiastic welcome of a new hat shop – would think of today’s swanky store openings.

The grand opening at the millinery emporium of Mortiz Sisters was a feature for the feminine portion of the city yesterday. The poor man who dared to turn his eyes that way was frightened off by the crowd of eager ladies who jostled each other in their anxiety to get closer to the new and dainty creations of the art of the milliner. Some of the new hats are said to be very beautiful. Some time when the reporter feels unusually gay he will venture in and write up those hats, but not today. It takes a strong constitution for a man to attempt to describe a bonnet which a woman can tell all about after one short glance.

Was it a bear? Was it an elk? Or was it Bigfoot? Whatever the creature that was spotted, it inspired some intense local debate.

Sunday afternoon the people along Hyman avenue were excited to see several people intently watching the side of West Aspen Mountain. All optics were turned aloft and the friendly clouds enabled them to distinctly see some sort of an animal cavorting about in the snow up there.

It was not a horse for its legs were too short. It was not a boy or man for it was down on all fours and was entirely too big to be a member of the human family. It was manifestly not an elephant or hippopotamus, and the only hypothesis which seemed be the case was that it was a bear.

Old hunters sneered and declared that a bear would be a fool to come out on the shady side of the hill. . But those who favored the bear theory . refused to accept the theory that no bear could be on the mountain side, merely on the ground that the mountain side was a place where no sensible bear ought to be. The argument grew warm and still the black patch on the snow appeared to gambol gaily about in a clumsy and bear-like manner.


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