The handicapped ski program that originated at Arapahoe Basin in 1968 finds a home at Winter Park. Under the directorship of **Hal O’Leary, it becomes the largest and most successful program in the U. S. **Allan Phipps steps down as chairman of the Winter Park Recreational Association; **Gerald Groswold takes over. (p. 124, Winter Park: Colorado’s Favorite for Fifty Years, 1940-1990)
At Steamboat Springs **Billy Kidd is named Director of Skiing and **Loris Werner, Director of the ski school. A 6-passenger Bell gondola is installed for the start of the 1969-70 ski season. LTV Recreation Development, Inc. manages the Steamboat Ski Company and Steamboat Land Company. (p. 118, The Story of Skiing at Steamboat Springs by Sureva Towler)
Aspen Skiing Corporation buys out the Breckenridge Ski Corporation by purchase of stock and launches a major expansion plan onslope and at the base of the mountain. (The Hauk Report on Breckenridge Ski Area Chronology)
**Max Dercum’s dream mountain, Keystone, opens on November 21, 1970 under the financial umbrella of Ralston Purina Company. Dercum becomes ski school director. Ted Birdsill is named mountain manager. The area boasts two chairlifts, one Pomalift, plus mountain and base shelters. (The Hauk Report on Keystone Ski Area Chronology)
**Billy Kidd becomes the first U. S. FIS combined World Ski Champion at Val Gardena. (The Story of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)
The International Olympic Committee picks Denver as host city for the 1976 Winter Olympics. Gov. John Love and industry leaders are responsible for the coup. (Colorful Colorado, Nov/Dec 1970; Jan/Feb 1971; July/Aug 1975)
Freestyle skiing is born at Waterville Valley, N.H. by Tom Corcoran and Doug Pfeiffer (Skiing Mag). The budding discipline consists of mogul skiing and "trick" skiing on a gentle slope. (The Skiers' Encyclopedia) Freestyling turns into "hot-dogging" in the early 1970s as skiers with little or no training grandstand for bucks with ever more sensational aerials.
Aspen’s 25-year-old #1 lift (single chair) is torn down. (The Hauk Report on Aspen Ski Area Chronology)
Telluride officially opens in December of 1972 with five lifts. Joseph T. Zoline masterminds; Emile Allais lays out the runs; **Billy Mahoney becomes mountain manager. (Colorful Colorado, Vol. 8, #2, Oct/Nov/1972 and Mahoney oral history tape)
At the 1972 Olympics held in at Sapporo Japan Barbara Cochrane wins an Olympic gold medal in slalom; Susie Corrock of Vail wins a bronze in downhill. (America’s Ski Book, Olympic records)
In November of 1972 a referendum on the Colorado State and Denver ballots is passed which prohibits Colorado or the City of Denver from funding the 1976 Olympic Winter Games. Beaver Creek, the designated alpine site for the Denver Olympics, becomes the focus of struggle between development proponents and environmentalists. (Ballots, general election, 1972)
Ski Magazine examines the raging debate over the Graduated Length Method (GLM) of teaching skiing as the Professional Ski Instructors of America seek to discourage short ski use (Ski, Dec. 1992 “Ski Back in Time.”)
Copper Mountain opens on November 15, 1972 with four double chairs, one of which is Colorado's first enclosed bubble. **Chuck Lewis manages the company. At the formal dedication in February of 1973. The area receives an award of environmental commendation from the Forest Service. (Schuss, January 1989)
The era of hot-dogging produces two aerial accidents that permanently cripple two competitors. Top competitors meet during the summer of 1973 and form the International Freestyle Skiing Association. Under the new rules, aerials are restricted. In 1974 the top freestylers form another organization - the Professional Freestyle Associates. (Colorful Colorado, September/October – 1974)
The north bore of the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel opens.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, funded under the direction of the Forest Service, begins to issue statewide warnings of high avalanche danger. In 1983 the Center becomes part of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Funds are secured from a consortium of public and private sponsors. (Crested Butte Chronicle, and Vail Trail, December 16, 1983)
Crested Butte launches one of the first telemarking races in the country with the tough **Al Johnson Uphill and Downhill Memorial Race. The event is named for **Al Johnson, a mail carrier of the last century who traversed the Elk Mountains on skis.
In a special ceremony in Oslo Norway, **Anders Haugen is presented with a third place medal rightfully won 50 years before at the 1924 Winter Olympics. At that time, a computation error was made in figuring his points for style and distance and he was awarded fourth place. (Skiing Heritage, Vol. 9, #1)
The first World Super Hot Dog Classic is held on See Me at Steamboat Springs during winter carnival. The event was part of the pro circuit at this time. (The Story of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)
In January of 1975 the Colorado Land Use Commission recommends to Gov. Vanderhoof on his last day in office that he endorse plans for development of Beaver Creek. When Gov. Lamm takes office, he immediately files a complaint on grounds that the environmental data is incomplete. Final plans for Beaver Creek are considerably altered.
A ski streaker disrupts the Thundermug free-for-all race at Steamboat Springs. traditionally held (since 1964) on the last day of the season. Streakers pop up at other ski areas as well. (The Story of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)
In January of 1976 the Mary Jane area at Winter Park is formally dedicated. The new runs add 80% more skiing terrain to the Winter Park complex. Winter Park: Colorado’s Favorite for Fifty Years, 1940-1990)
To celebrate America’s Bicenntenial, several skiers at Vail found the Colorado Ski Museum. A formal dedication is held in 1977 with the first Hall of Fame members inducted.
Bill Koch (from Vermont) wins a silver medal in cross-country at the Innsbruck Olympics. **Cindy Nelson wins a bronze in downhill. (CO Ski Museum Olympic files)
In March, 1976, an accident with the Bell gondola at Vail results in four fatalities and eight injuries. Nevertheless, skier use soars over the one million mark - a first for one ski area in Colorado. The Goliad Oil and Gas Company of Dallas (partially owned by Harry W. Bass, Jr.) assumes control of Vail Associates by acquisition of stock. (Vail: Triumph of a Dream, by Peter W. Seibert))
Rocky Mt. National Park buys the Hidden Valley ski area from Ted James of Denver. Hidden Valley Ski Area is also known as Ski Estes Park. (“Historic Hidden Valley paper” Estes Park Public Library)
Kingsberry Pitcher buys into WOLF CREEK Ski Corp. In 1978 buys whole thing. Still owned by him and his family in 1985. He was instructor at Aspen at one time (1952). (Interview, Kelly Boyce)
The Great Western Freestyle Center opens with a summer camp in Steamboat Springs under the direction of **Park Smalley (Smalley bio.)
On July 28, 1977 a ground breaking ceremony takes place on the site of Beaver Creek Village. **President Gerald Ford takes part in the ceremonies. Over the next three years **Bob Parker will deal with the strictest environmental controls ever imposed on ski area development. (Rocky Mountain Motorist, November 1982 and Vail, Triumph of a Dream by Pete Siebert)
A snow drought in the Rockies is the worst in 40 years. Colorado ski areas lose $78 million and post a 36.6% decline in skier days with a 50% drop in business. Areas on the Front Range fare best. Steamboat, Telluride, Geneva Basin close in February. Keystone stays open because of greater snowmaking capability and posts a 5.81% gain. (Denver Post, Feb. 11, 1977)
World Class competition in freestyle in this country flips out, but is still going strong in Europe. One source says 14 paraplegics or quadriplegics are result of aerial accidents. Insurance dries up. The competition committee of the National Ski Association of America votes to ban aerials.
Jake Burton, the "father of snowboarding, moves to Stratton, VT. to pursue his dream of designing snowboards. He makes 350 boards at night after bartending during the day. Friends sneak up the mountain at night to test because snowboards were not allowed. Sells for $88. (See CSM 1981 timeline.)
Howelsen Hill, destroyed by fire in 1972, has been rebuilt and is dedicated on January 28, 1978. The construction cost $1.1 million and took five years. The Winter Sports Club was unable to finance and transferred title of Howelsen Hill’s facilities and equipment to the City of Steamboat Springs in 1977. (The Story of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)
Ralston-Purina, owner of Keystone Resort, buys A-Basin in a stock deal. (Denver Post, May 9, 1978)
Aspen Skiing Corporation is acquired by Twentieth Century Fox. The 1,080,000 outstanding shares of Corporation stock are purchased for $48.6 million or $45 per share, the largest transaction in the history of skiing. (Hauk Report & Glenwood Post; 12/16/77)
Summit County launches the Summit Telemark Series The Series affiliates with USSA in 1984 and eventually becomes known as the Rocky Mountain Telemark Series. (D.Post, Nov. 16, 1980)
Gerald Rogers and Westlake Investment Corp headed by Darren Rogers buys Monarch Ski Resort. He starts a 10-year expansion plan (that’s completed in 3 years.) One plus is the Panorama Lift to the top of the Continental Divide. (Winter Fun – 50th Anniversary 1988-89.)
"It’s going to cost a small fortune to ski this year." Full day lift tickets will run as much as $16.00 at Aspen. (November, 1979 – Gazette Telegraph)
Benchmark, Inc., the company that developed Avon, buys controlling interest in Telluride. A master plan is drawn up to improve and expand the mountain. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, August 19, 1979)
A Skier Safety Act is passed by the Colorado General Assembly. The bill establishes reasonable safety standards for the operation of ski areas and defines the duties and rights of skiers using the areas. (Colorado Skiing, December 1984)
Seven Colorado residents, one of whom is **Pepi Gramshammer, quietly purchase a dormant tract of land called Arrowhead-at-Vail and plan to develop it. A residential section is planned as well as an 18- hole golf course. ( Denver.Post, 9/9/79)
May, 1979 - Northwest Colorado Ski Corporation composed of nine investors headed by Martin Hart, purchase the Steamboat Ski Company. Between 1979 and 1987 they invest $34.8 mil in capital improvements at the ski area, including the 8-passenger gondola in 1986 billed as the first in the world. (The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)
Lost Ski Areas operating in the 1970s include Conquistador near Westcliffe, Sharktooth at Greeley, Steamboat Lake Ski Area, Stagecoach in the Yampa Valley; Squaw Pass Ski Area, 30 miles west of Denver, Ski San Isabel southwest of Pueblo; Tamarron near Purgatory, Trail Mountain Ski Area near Granby; The Pikes Peak Elk Park Area.
(Compiled by Patricia Pfeiffer, Chair, Colorado Ski Museum History Committee)