Snowmass history: The 1981 Winternational

Snowmass hosted Stetson Hat races for major event

Aspen Historical Society
A student from the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf (left) gets a helping hand at the start gate of a ski race, circa 1980s.
Aspen Historical Society, Aspen Skiing Co. Collection/Courtesy image

The Winternational of 1981 was considered one of the most exciting series of events to hit Aspen-Snowmass in the ’80s.

“We are the only North American stop for the World Cup this year and we are looking for a five-year commitment to hold the races here,” Jerry Blann, Vice President of the Aspen Skiing Co., noted in a March 1981 Snowmass Affairs article.

The last such race was held in 1978, and there was a long political process to have a race approved. That year, a week of events and celebrations over March 3 through the 8 were planned to highlight the race. Snowmass hosted the Stetson Hat Races in which World Cup racers paired up with children from the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf as a benefit race for the camp, an event that continued as a highlight in the World Cup races for many years.

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