Snowmass history: What’s in a name?

Snowmass Affairs article explored ski trail naming conventions

Aspen Historical Society
A winter panoramic photograph of Sam's Knob and Big Burn at Snowmass Ski Area in the winter captures some of the ski trails on the mountain, photographed by Margaret Durrance circa 1969.
Aspen Historical Society Durrance Collection/Courtesy image

“What’s in a Name?” the Snowmass Affairs magazine asked in an April 1977 article.

“The Big Burn, Pipeline, Fanny Hill and Bear Bottom are only a few of the 85 trails at Snowmass, but did you ever stop to think about how they got their names? There are several areas at Snowmass with which most skiers are familiar,” the article stated.

“Perhaps the most popular is the Big Burn. It takes its name from a large fire in the 1880s which burned across the present ski trails. The fire’s origin is still a point of controversy. Some say it was the result of lightning. … Alpine Springs received its label from the numerous springs found at the top of (the) #8 lift. Elk Camp was an old elk calving area and many elk are found here in the spring. If you look closely, you may discover some. … Slot Falls was a typographical error on the 1974-75 trail map. It should have been Slot Flats for the long, wide and relatively gentle meadow portion at the middle of Slot trail. There is a beautiful, twisted old tree on it which looks like a giant bonsai tree. This was quickly misunderstood and corrupted to banzai tree, and from there to Banzai Ridge to all skiers.”