Old Snowmass Trail Maps:
Left: Snowmass Mountain
Right: The new Snowmass Base Village
Resort History:
The Big Burn
Hanging Valley Wall
The New Elk Camp Gondola
Elk Camp Area
Riding up the Cirque Platter
Sam's Knob
The now removed Funnel double.
Looking up Roberto's
Two Creeks Area
Snowmass' Half Pipe
Current Resort Stats: *
Bumps on Big Burn
Pros and Cons to Skiing Here:
+ Varied terrain for all skill levels
- Expensive lift ticket prices
+ Fast chairlifts mean few lift lines
- Expensive accommodations
+ Challenging expert terrain
- Base village is under construction
+ Great intermediate cruising terrain
- Area receives less snow
compared to other Colorado areas
+ No weekend crowds from
- Base area lacks any "pre-skiing"
Copyright ©
All Rights Reserved.

*Resort Stats Current for 2009-10

The Colorado Ski Museum
Hauk Reports
Aspen Skiing Company

Picture Credits:
Brad C.
Insider Tips to Skiing Here:
Alpine Springs Area
Looking down High Alpine
The old Assay Hill lift
Looking Toward the Maroon Bells
The old Fanny Hill lift & Base
Skiers wait in line for the Cirque lift.
The Village Express & Sky Cab
Snowmass Then & Now:
A Look at Fanny Hill
During the early 1950’s, the Roaring Fork Valley operated one ski area,
Aspen Mountain (Ajax).  The idea of developing additional skiing sites
was quickly becoming a reality.  By 1957, Aspen Architect and skier,
Fritz Benedict and Hans Sarbach of Heron Engineering approached the
United States Forest Service (USFS) regarding a potential site outside of
Aspen.  The proposed ski mountain, on existing surveys, was dubbed as
Baldy and Burnt Mountains, located between the Brush and Snowmass
drainages.  During the late 1950’s rumors about the developments of
Buttermilk/Tiehack and Aspen Highlands were surfacing.  Tiehack
Mountain (or Buttermilk) and Aspen Highlands opened for the 1958-59

At Burnt Mountain the following year, Benedict met with USFS Ranger
Paul Hauk in Glenwood Springs to further discuss his proposal. He
planned to submit a joint development proposal with the Janss Investment
Corporation (JIC).  William “Bill” Janss was the vice president of the real
estate holding firm.  As a child, Bill learned to ski at California’s Yosemite
Park.  During college, he earned a spot on the 1940 Olympic ski team.  
His company, JIC, was headquartered in southern California and
specialized in various different developments ranging from industrial sites
to resorts.  

Bill Janss hired a fellow classmate at Stanford University, “Bill” Kingsbury
Pitcher (see the history of
Wolf Creek Ski Area), to represent his
company’s interests at the Burnt Mountain proposal site.  Pitcher began to
study the mountain and draft a proposal.  By August of 1958, Pitcher and
JIC formally submitted a special use application to the USFS.  A ski tour
of the proposal was carried out on April 23, 1959 with the help of a
“Weasel” snowcat.  The attendees included Ranger Paul Hauk, Bill
Pitcher, Morrie Shepard (Head instructor at Aspen Mountain), Aspen
District Ranger Neil Edstrom, and Forester Chuck McConnell.  The tour
topped out at over 12,700 feet, close to the now summit of the Cirque
lift.  A second tour was carried out the following winter to complete the

JIC continued to purchase land in and around the Burnt Mountain
proposal site during 1959 and 1960.  A report recommending a ski area
was officially released by Bill Pitcher in 1960 to the Janss Company and
the USFS.  Aspen Skiing Corporation (ASC) began to closely watch the
happenings at Burnt Mountain.  By 1962, another ski tour was arranged
that included Paul Nitze (the majority stock holder of ASC), Darcy
Brown (ASC president), George Robinson (ASC Director), and Robert
Craig (Aspen Institute).  Another meeting was held with the USFS during
March of 1962 to discuss a conditional “special use” permit at the
proposed site.  By August of 1962, developers submitted their permit
application to the USFS that encompassed the construction of five ski lifts
and associated runs.  Under the agreement, ASC and Janss would co-
develop the ski area.

For the 1962-63 season, the USFS issued a commercial touring permit
allowing snow cats to shuttle skiers up the slopes.  On April 1964, a
breakthrough ski tour occurred, according to the USFS.  The tour
included rangers from Washington D.C., which brokered a deal allowing
initial development for the 1967-68 season.  The agreement provided two
summers for construction.   

JIC continued to purchase additional land over 1964, which now totaled
over 2,860 acres.  Under the joint permit application, titled Snowmass Ski
Area, to the USFS included 6,300 acres of USFS property and 52 acres
of BLM land.  By 1965, JIC and ASC formalized a joint deal to develop
the ski area.  Under their agreement, ASC would construct ski lifts and ski
related facilities.  The Janss group would design and develop the base
facilities and lodging.  

By the fall of 1967, Snowmass contracted Riblet Engineering to install five
double chairlifts.  Lifts included Burlingame, Sam’s Knob and a lift to Big
Burn.  The official opening day was December 17, 1967.  Janss and ASC
spent approximately 10 million dollars in development costs.  Amenities
for the first season included five lodges, 120 condos, over 10 private
homes, a conference center, numerous pools, over twenty shops and six
restaurants.  For the 1967-68 season, Snowmass saw over 100,000 skier
visits, the most ever tallied at a ski area during their first season in
operation (at least during this era).

The Janss group announced in October 1968 that American Cement
Comnay would acquire ownership of the Snowmass base area property.  
Bill Janss exchanged his ownership at Snowmass for the Sun Valley Ski
Area in Idaho.  Despite the ownership change, Snowmass continued to
grow.  By 1972, there were over 120 private homes and 500 condos.  
Home prices range from 5 – 10 dollars per square foot (compare with
current prices today!).

Snowmass Ski Area continued to expand as well.  For the 1977-78
season, Snowmass tallied over 640,000 skier visits.  ASC purchased two
new Riblet chairs for the 1978-79 season, which included Alpine Springs
and High Alpine lifts.  Ownership changed under ASC.  Twentieth
Century Fox purchased Aspen Skiing Corporation.  Two years later in
June of 1981, Marvin Davis bough Twentieth Century Fox, changing the
company’s name to Aspen Skiing Company (SkiCo).  Under corporate
shuffling, ownership changed numerous more times until fifty percent of
SkiCo was sold to the Crown family of Chicago in 1985 under the name
Bell Mountain Partnership, Ltd.  The remaining fifty percent, owned by
Marvin Davis, was sold to the Crown family in 1993.

Back at Snowmass, the 1980’s would bring continued expansions, lift
upgrades and additional resort development.  During summer of 1981,
Riblet installed the Naked Lady lift designed to reduce lines on the Alpine
Springs double.  By 1986, Snowmass installed their first pair of high
speed quads.  The Fanny Hill high-speed quad constructed by Poma
provided quick access for beginners right off of the Snowmass Mall.  The
second high-speed lift, Coney Glade, shuttles skiers from Fanny Hill to
Big Burn.  Big Burn was upgraded a year later to complete a high-speed
lift network to the summit of Snowmass.

During the late 1980’s, Aspen Skiing Company sought to expand
Snowmass onto Burnt Mountain, just south of the Elk Camp lift.  The
proposal included 900 skiable acres, 9 chairlifts, and additional
developments at the base.  Burnt Mountain’s terrain, located within
Snowmass’ permit boundary, was opposed by local environmental groups
and various residents.  ASC chose to shelf the proposal during fall of
1989 citing lack of demand, road congestion on Highway 82, wildlife
impacts, and the shortage of employee housing.

The Burnt Mountain proposal saw new light during 1991 when company
officials saw flat skier numbers at Aspen resorts.  Officials saw the
addition of new terrain as an incentive for past visitors to return more
frequently.  The proposal now included 325 acres of terrain on Burnt
Mountain, replacement of three older double chairs with high-speed
quads, and a new base access lift and parking area.  By 1993, part of this
plan became reality when the Elk Camp and Sam’s Knob lifts were
replaced by new Poma detachable quads.  Two seasons later, the Two
Creeks lift brought access down valley and included a new parking facility
and resort homes.  

During March of 1994, Aspen Skiing Company was given conditional
approval for the Burnt Mountain proposal.  The USFS approved a two
stage gondola from Snowmass Village to the summit of Burnt Mountain,
but stated that a new Environmental Impact Statement had to be drafted if
they pursue a gondola link between Buttermilk and Snowmass.  By
summer of 1995, a lawsuit was filed by Aspen Wilderness Workshop to
block the ski area’s regulations of Snowmass Creek for snowmaking
operations.  The court decided that resort officials must maintain at least
minimum stream flows at all times.  Environmental groups hoped this
decision would make expansions more difficult since additional
snowmaking water would not be available.

Aspen and Snowmass were the first ski areas in the United States to
break 50 dollars for an adult lift ticket during the 1994-95 season.  As
ticket prices climbed, Snowmass continued upgrades.  The Cirque Platter
first pulled skiers and riders to the summit of the Cirque Headwall during
1997-1998.  This lift was also the first to be powered solely by wind
power credits.

With base area facilities aging, Aspen Skiing Company awarded the task
of creating a base village to the Canadian company, Intrawest in 2001. By
2005, residents of Snowmass Village approved a plan to allow
construction to begin. Under the agreement, resort officials were to
replace the aging Fanny Hill quad with a new Poma six-passenger lift that
reaches Sam’s Knob. In addition, a pulse gondola connected the
proposed base village to the Snowmass Mall. The final lift upgrade is a
two stage gondola installed during 2007 to the top of the old Funnel

Construction at the Base Village was well under way by 2006 and
Intrawest sold their project to WestPac, a company familiar with Aspen
construction.  WestPac also has interests in the Snowmass Mall and the
Residences at Little Nell in downtown Aspen.
The removed Wood Run Lift
The Cirque Headwall
Elk Camp