Memories of Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Memories of Aspen

Dear Editor:I thoroughly enjoyed reading your “Men for Our Mountains” in this week’s Aspen Times Weekly (Dec. 23). I thought you might be interested in a few comments regarding that period when Aspen was just getting started as a ski town.You comment that John Litchfield “renamed” the Red Onion. I wonder when he gave it that name. It was certainly the Red Onion the first time I came to ski here in Aspen during the New Year week of 1946-47, and was almost certainly under that name the previous summer. An anecdote about that: Robert McCormick (Bob) Adams, an old friend, told of working on the crew putting up the chairlifts during the summer of 1946; When the 5 o’clock bell rang (or was it a whistle?), all the workers would run as fast as they could down Aspen Mountain to the Red Onion, where the last man down had to pay for the beer for everyone.The caption of the photo of Aspen Mountain, circa 1947-48, suggests that Bell Mountain, Tourtelotte Park and Spar Gulch were not developed at that time. That’s not quite accurate. Even in January of 1947, we would sometimes hike over from the top of the No. 2 (double chair) lift to Bell Mountain and ski the face. It wasn’t done a lot; as you rode up the No. 1 (single chair) lift after running Bell, you could pick out your own track for days afterward. And we certainly did ski Tourtelotte Park and Spar Gulch then. At that time, you could ski Bingo Slot as an alternative to coming around “Kleenex Corner” to the top of Little Nell, the way we all go now.Silver Queen was open even in January of 1947. My old pal Hubert Weinshienk, later general counsel for the National Ski Patrol, and I had a lesson with Elli Iselin. After a check-out run on Buckhorn, over to the top of No. 1, and Elli announces “Follow me!” Down what is now FIS, then right over to Silver Queen, in unbroken, waist-deep powder! What an introduction for us that was!Thanks for writing this!Steve BerryChicago/Aspen

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