Snowmass ski resort celebrates 50-year anniversary |

Snowmass ski resort celebrates 50-year anniversary

Erica Robbie
Snowmass Sun
Stein Eriksen skis through powder on Snowmass Mountain during its opening season in 1967.
Aspen Historical Society |

Take a trip back in time next winter as Snowmass Village rings in the 50th anniversary of its ski area.

The season-long celebration will commence Dec. 15 — The exact date of Snowmass Mountain’s 50 year anniversary — with single-day lift tickets sold at the same price that was charged on opening day in 1967: $6.50.

A group of folks from Snowmass Tourism, Aspen Skiing Co. and “other locals and interested parties” first met in October to start planning, Snowmass Tourism Director Rose Abello said.

The tourism group’s goal is to get the word out early in hopes of involving as many community members as possible, she said.

“This mountain means so much to so many people and there are generations of families that have grown up here.” Steve SewellSnowmass Ski Area manager

“This is a community event. And it needs the community to step up to help organize it, plan it, make it their own,” Abello said. “(Snowmass Tourism) and Skico are important drivers of this, we’re investing in it, but it really takes a village. We want to make sure that people care about the village.”

While “all the T’s are not crossed and all the I’s aren’t dotted,” Abello noted, a few events are on the books for the 2017-18 anniversary celebration:

Friday, Dec. 15:

Post-skiing for less than $7, a “retro-themed” party with live entertainment will kick off at Elk Camp, Abello said.

She added that they hope to book “some of the classic entertainers of Snowmass, folks who have entertained for decades.”

Fireworks over Fanny Hill will follow.

Saturday, Dec. 16:

Snowmass natives Britta Gustafson and Whitney Gordon are stepping up to help recreate a classic event called “Banana Days,” Abello said.

According to “The Story of Snowmass” history book by Paul Andersen, Banana Days included “wild and wacky events such as a scavenger hunt on the mountain, banana-eating contests, banana juggling, banana drink contests, a banana boat race, the Banana Ball Beach Party.”

At the time, radio disc-jockeys would reveal clues for the on-mountain scavenger hunt, according to Abello.

In a modern-day approach, scavenger hunt clues will be shared on social media, she said.

On Saturday night, a 50th anniversary golden gala will take place at The Viceroy.

However, don’t let the word “gala” fool you; attire will be “Snowmass informal,” Abello said.

Snowmass Tourism also has commissioned local filmmaker and Pitkin County Commissioner Greg Poschman to produce a 30-minute anniversary film that will premiere at the gala.

Abello said Snowmass Tourism intends to release a two-minute teaser of the film sometime in June.

Sunday, Dec. 17:

On Sunday, a “cabin jump,” which Snowmass Tourism Marketing Director Virginia McNellis described as “one of the favorite Snowmass events of the ’70s” will open for the day.

The cabin, which skiers would launch off back in the day, will be temporarily rebuilt at the Spider Sabich Race Area.

A community picnic also will take place on the mountain that afternoon.

“This mountain means so much to so many people and there are generations of families that have grown up here,” Snowmass Ski Area manager Steve Sewell said. “We are excited to celebrate with them on the anniversary weekend and all season long.”

To get involved with Snowmass’ anniversary celebration, email