History: Birth of a ski resort

Aspen Historical Society/Courtesy photo

From the very first issue of the Snowmass Villager on Oct. 23, 1967, comes a story of how the Snowmass ski area came to be. “Ten years ago, a ski equipped airplane touched down near the summit of Colorado’s Baldy Mountain, 13,162 feet high, a monk’s head peak on the edge of the Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness area. Piloting that plane was Bill Janss, an avid sportsman and former Olympic skier who maintained his great interest in the mushrooming ski industry. He stood in awe of the ten thousand acres spread before him, realizing that in all his years of skiing he had never seen an area with such a variety of trail conditions, and with the secluded valleys and pasture land so hospitable to the mountain village concept which he had come to envy during his skiing years in Europe. Then and there the idea for Snowmass-at-Aspen was born.”

Editor’s note: This page is a partnership between the Snowmass Sun and the Aspen Historical Society with

two primary goals in mind: to improve the knowledge of Snowmass history in the region and to collect historical photographs of the Snowmass region for the society. If you have pieces of history to donate, please send them to or call 970-925-3721.