History: How Snowmass got its start | AspenTimes.com

History: How Snowmass got its start

Jim Snobble, an Aspen Ski School guide and instructor, leads three people in powder skiing above the timberline at Snowmass in 1967. A note on the back also includes the names Don Rayburn, Bill Mason and Hal Hartman.
Aspen Historical Society |

Jim Snobble, a part-time ski school instructor, had been running a lodge called the Nugget when it was sold leaving him with just a ski school supervisor job. He was worried about what he would do when he rode the lift one day with Art Pfister, who told him they might be looking for some “management depth” and to go talk with Darcy (D.R.C. Brown, president of the Aspen Skiing Corp.). He did, and a week later got a call saying, “You’re done with Ski School: Go to Snowmass and start studying Snowmass.”

Snobble was put in charge of a team to look at the mountain and determine the feasibility of opening a ski area there. He went straight to working at Snowmass, running two powder cat tours with a couple of guides in the early 1960s when there was almost nothing except the old Hoaglund Ranch house and barn, the Faraway Ranch log cabin owned by Loey Ringquist and some hay meadows.

Bill Janss had been buying up property and was interested in trying to develop the mountain, but he wanted to do a joint venture with the Aspen Skiing Co. Janss would develop the base area and commercial properties while Skico would develop the lift facilities, runs and skiing operations.


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