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This Week in Aspen history

One b/w negative of Andre Roch sitting inside the Cloud Nine restaurant at Highlands, 1967. This was taken during the Roch Cup races, which took place at Aspen Mountain and Highlands. A related image and an article are in the Aspen Illustrated News on February 16, 1967 (page 29).
Aspen Historical Society/Aspen Illustrated News Collection

“Past a breathless corp of international pressmen, NBC-TV, and an unprecedented number of spectators, the world’s top skiers powered their to victory at Aspen’s Roch Cup last March,” noted The Aspen Times on December 24, 1968. “Designated a World Cup race for the time this year, the event hosted 122 entrants, including triple Olympic medalist Jean Claude Killy of France. Of the 13 countries represented, North Americans Billy Kidd of the U.S. and Nancy Greene of Canada became the Champions of the 22nd Annual Roch Cup races. First run in 1946, the event commemorates a historic era in American skiing. Ten years earlier, Swiss mountaineer-skiers Andre Roch was commissioned by ski pioneers Bill Fiske and Ted Ryan to find a suitable development site in Aspen for ski slopes. Assisted by Gunther Langes, Roch toured the surrounding peaks that winter and developed a thorough winter photographic survey. He concluded that the Aspen area had terrain and snow conditions superior even to those of his native Alps. Wherever he goes people ask him about avalanches, about mountains, about skiing and about ski areas. A Swiss by birth, Andre Roch has lived for over 20 years in one of Switzerland’s most famous resorts, but after he retires he would like to live and work in the Colorado town he introduced to the sport of skiing 30 years ago. Roch, now 60, returned to Aspen last year for the international race named for him. He was the guest of Ted Ryan, the man who first brought him here in December 1936, to make recommendations for a new ski resort. Ryan and Billy Fiske and Tom Flynn dreamed of creating an alpine skiing village in the heart of the Colorado Rockies to rival Europe’s best and they wanted Roch to help them. While working for the Highland Bavarian Corporation and its Ashcroft ski project, Roch took time to promote skiing among Aspen residents. He helped found the Aspen Ski Club and gave free ski lessons on the weekends. Early in 1937 he went to the then-new resort in Idaho called Sun Valley, and came back with a load of skis purchased from Swiss friends which he gave away or sold at cost to Aspen residents. He also persuaded Thor Groswald, Denver ski manufacturer, to give him a truckload of reject skis to be passed out to Aspen juniors. That spring the Swiss skier also designed and helped cut a new racing trail down the face of Aspen Mountain. The trail was later named for him.”

The image above shows Andre Roch at the Cloud Nine restaurant at Highlands, 1967. (Aspen Historical Society, Aspen Illustrated News Collection)

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