History: Success in Snowmass
Jim Snobble knew Snowmass would be larger than the other ski areas — they didn’t want to duplicate Aspen Highlands or Aspen Mtn. or Buttermilk. It needed to be unique, something that would stand on its own. Snobble recalled that almost without exception people said they would never make it, that no one would leave Aspen Mtn. and Highlands and Buttermilk to go way out there to ski, including Friedl Pfeifer. So it was with a certain sense of gratification that the first year they opened Snowmass exceeded everyone’s projections and did more business than both Aspen Mtn. and Buttermilk the first year 1967-68. And, ever since, it has done more business than both (in skier days). Snobble felt Snowmass offered so much for so many skiers — enormous amounts of good intermediate and cruising terrain. “But I think it goes beyond that, too — there’s a vastness to it that appeals to people. Even the weaker skiers, the intermediate skiers, can get to the top of Elk Camp and the Burn — and it’s almost as if they can get the Sir Edmund Hillary complex — they’re on top of the world. You can see from here to Vail and you’re on top of the mountain, and they don’t have to be that great a skier to be there. They can enjoy it, it’s not intimidating, they’re not going to fall off the mountain, and there’s the variety. To me it just has that appeal of the size, the non-threatening terrain, where people want that…. Snowmass is wide open to the sun, so you don’t lose your light as early and you don’t fight that bad light. We tried to make a sincere effort to have our people be extremely friendly and take care of the public and impress on ’em that doggone it, this is our livelihood, this is where our checks come from. Not just for that reason, but because we wanted people to have a good time. We wanted them to enjoy it and we placed an awful lot of emphasis on taking care of the public, and I hope it worked,” Snobble emphasized in his 1994 oral history.
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