The history behind Lift One
Let’s not forget about the ski history museum that is part of the Lift One plan.
Aspen’s skiing history started in 1936 when Ted Ryan, Billy Fiske and Tom Flynn brought André Roch and Gunther Langes to town to identify the best places to ski. Based on their input, volunteers from the newly formed Aspen Ski Club (now known as AVSC) cut the first trail down Aspen Mountain from the top of Ruthie’s down Corkscrew in 1937. The original ski tow also was constructed that year, with six-passenger toboggans added in 1938.
When the 10th Mountain Division trained, rested and relaxded in the Aspen area in the ’40s before shipping off to fight in World War II, the word about Aspen began to spread. When they came home, many members of the 10th returned to Aspen to help build the community we all cherish.
Lift One was a technological wonder when it began carrying skiers to the top of Ruthie’s in the winter of 1946-47. Early grooming methods included manual bootpacking by those eager to earn a free lift ticket. In 1958, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk opened, each under independent ownership, and in 1967 “Snowmass-at-Aspen” began operating with five lifts and 584 acres of skiing.
From the first Roch Cup race in 1946 to the 2017 World Cup Finals, Aspen Mountain has hosted many Roch Cup and World Cup ski races on courses loved by competitors and spectators alike. Aspen’s ski racing tradition has blossomed to embrace all sorts of snow sport competitions across all four mountains, including the 24 Hours of Aspen, X Games, Power of Four and others. The Aspen Historical Society is excited to share this storied history with our community and visitors.
Aspen the community and Aspen the resort have a deep skiing and snowboarding history. A “yes” vote on the Lift One ballot question will provide a place to properly celebrate this history.
Susan Bernard, Chace Dillon, Jane Floyd, Jacqueline Ruger Hutton, David Hyman, Jackie Kasabach and Ruth Owens
Aspen Historical Society