Price is right for Aspen-Snowmass ski area nostalgia |

Price is right for Aspen-Snowmass ski area nostalgia

Auction of old ski area trails signs earns $50,000 for Environment Foundation

The sign for the Sneaky’s trail at Snowmass attracted the most bids at an auction last week. There were 34 bids and a sales price of $4,000.
Courtesy photo

People love ski area memorabilia and are willing to dish out money for it.

An auction of signs for ski trails and ski area services at Aspen Skiing Co.’s four mountains raised $50,000 for the Environment Foundation last week. The event raised another $2,165 from a sign raffle exclusively for Skico employees, according to Hannah Berman, Skico senior manager of sustainability and philanthropy.

Three signs attracted more than $5,000 each in the auction. Up 4 Pizza, a mountaintop restaurant at Snowmass, earned the biggest bid at $6,000. The sign for the Coffee Pot trail at Snowmass brought in $5,500 while a Silver Queen Gondola sign was nabbed for a top bid of $5,150.

The sign for the Sneaky’s trail at Snowmass attracted the highest number of bids at 34 in an online auction. It edged out the Mick’s Gully sign that had 33 bids. Sneaky’s went for $4,000 while Mick’s Gully went for $1,300.

The prices started at $150 and bids had to be cast in increments of at least $10. The bidding was opened on April 18 and went through Sunday at 7 p.m.

“Twenty signs had winning bids placed in the last 49 seconds of the auction,” Berman wrote in an email.

The metal signs were being replaced as part of a regular maintenance schedule. They are roughly 8 feet long and 15 inches high. Skico officials got the idea of offering the signs in an auction from Steamboat Ski Area.

In Aspen’s case, proceeds went to the Aspen Skiing Co. employees’ Environment Foundation, which has awarded $4 million in grants to environmental causes and organizations since it was started in 1997.

Skico initially had 25 old signs for the auction but ended up with an extra handful.

“John Callahan donated six original Buttermilk signs, that his dad got from being on trail crew in the 1970s, after learning about the auction,” Berman said.

All told, the average price of the signs was $1,621.

The lowest earning sign was Campground Upper Divide Lot, which sold for $260.

In addition to the auction, Skico held a raffle for its employees for three signs. They were for signs saying More Difficult, Turkey Trot and Sam’s Knob. Employees bought 433 tickets to the raffle and generated $2,165 for the Environment Foundation.

Berman said the foundation’s board would determine at its May meeting how to spend the booty from the sign auction. The success of the event likely means signs that are replaced in the future will also be auctioned.

“Given the excitement of the recipients and the windfall for the foundation, we’d love to hold another fundraiser in future years,” Berman said. “Plus, now we’re curious which sign could raise the most for the foundation.”