Snowmass history: “Snobble, Marshall remember ski area’s first days” |

Snowmass history: “Snobble, Marshall remember ski area’s first days”

An image of the Campground ski run that appeared on a postcard. The photo looks through a stand of Aspen trees at the run. A note on the back read, "View of the exciting Campground Trail, which many consider America’s number one downhill racing trail. Campground is served by Lift no. 5 which is over 1.5 miles long.”
Aspen Historical Society |

An article from the Dec. 18 to 24, 1996 edition of the Snowmass Sun recounted the memories of Snowmass opening 30 years prior by Tom Marshall and James Snobble. “Tom Marshall, who ran the early Snowmass-at-Aspen snowcat tours and was the resort’s first assistant patrol director, recalls those times as being ‘some of the greatest experiences of my life.’ Jim ‘Sneaky’ Snobble, the area’s first mountain manager, said modestly, ‘overall, it came out pretty well.’ Both men agree that having been among the fortunate few involved in the planning and operation of the Snowmass Ski area prior to its 1967 opening was indeed a stroke of good luck. The chemistry and camaraderie among some of those pioneers in ‘mountain ops’ was so great that several remain good friends to this day…..Both men brought a passion for skiing and knowledge of the mountain environment to their jobs. Their hands-on experience proved invaluable when it came to scoping runs, cutting terrain and deciding just where lifts would be placed. ‘Your skis lead you to certain places,’ Snobble said simply. ‘Being skiers, it was easy,’ Marshall echoed. ‘It sure wasn’t brain surgery.’ The men ignored warnings that the Big Burn was ‘too flat’ in deep powder (this was in the days before sophisticated trail grooming). One solution: let locals pack out some of the snow before the paying guests arrive. The men literally stumbled upon the hidden treasure of Campground during a ski safari. ‘Campground was not in the original plan until we ended up down there’ said Marshall. ‘This area without Campground would just be another Buttermilk. Without that, we simply wouldn’t have a complete area offering everything for all skiers.’ Snobble said. Marshall and Snobble didn’t have an overwhelming feeling that they were on to something big. So the resort’s success was a welcome, pleasant surprise. ‘Everybody kept saying no one will ever come here’ Snobble said.”


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