1950 - 1959
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  • Rozman Hill, 4-5 miles south of Crested Butte, first used by Western State College for a
    jumping hill, adds a downhill run.  Gunnison alpine skiers use the area until 1962 when
    Crested Butte opens.  Jumping and cross-country events continue there until the late
    1970s. (term paper by Bob D. Lee, 1977)

  • The City of Denver turns over the management of Winter Park to a citizen's board called
    the Winter Park Recreational Association.  **Allan R. Phipps heads it up.  **Steve
    Bradley is Executive Director.  (Winter Park, Colorado’s Favorite for 50 Years  1940-
    1990, by the Grand County Historical Association)

  • Aspen brings the FIS alpine world championships to this country for the first time. **Dick
    Durrance, General Manager of Aspen Ski Corp, is responsible. The event puts Aspen
    and Colorado on the international ski map. (The Man on the Medal, by Dick Durrance)

  • **Howard Head perfects and tests an aluminum sandwich ski.  By 1955 he has added
    fiberglass reinforcement, a base of polyethylene, and a super strong adhesive to bond
    plastic to metal. The revolutionary design begins to win trophies in 1960 and FIS victories
    in 1962.  (Nine Thousand Years of Skis, by Ted Bays)

  • The Tey Manufacturing Corporation makes artificial snow using compressed air and hose
    nozzles specifically for skiing purposes at Mohawk Mountain in the Western Connecticut
    Berkshires. (Skiing Heritage, Vol. 13 - #1, March 2001)


  • Duane Vandenbusche reports in A Land Alone that only four ski areas in Colorado
    operate daily:  Arapahoe, Winter Park, Aspen Mountain and Loveland Basin.  He says
    175,000 lift tickets are sold statewide.  

  • Although most skiers in Colorado still use cable bindings, a few safety bindings are on the
    market --Mitch Cubberly markets his step-in Cubco Safety binding.  Other early release
    bindings include Hjalmar Hram’s Saf-Ski binding; Anderson & Thompson’s D-8; GHN
    Automatic Cable Release bindings; and Earl Miller’s Hanson binding. (Skiing Heritage,
    Vol. 13-#1, March, 2001)

  • The Berry family buys Monarch Ski Area for $100. The town of Salida originally held the
    lease.  In 1954 Roman Fischer takes over and the Berrys return in 1956. (Monarch 50-
    Year Anniversary History)

  • **Steve Bradley, Director of Winter Park, starts experimenting with his packer/grader. It
    will eventually evolve into the mechanized grooming cats of today. (Winter Park, America’
    s Favorite for 50 Years 1940-1990)

  • The Winter Olympics in Oslo includes giant slalom for the first time.  Andrea Mead
    Lawrence wins America’s first double gold medals in slalom and giant slalom.  (The
    Olympic Image, the First 100 Years, compiled and edited by Wei Yew)

  • Steamboat Springs holds the National Ski Jumping Championships and also FIS tryouts.
    (The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)

  • The first Pomalift in the U. S. is installed at Arapahoe by **Larry Jump. He forms
    Pomalift, Inc. in June 1954, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arapahoe Basin, Inc. The
    corporation eventually sells 465 surface lifts, Pomagalski chair lifts and 3 passenger
    gondolas) to over 400 ski areas. (Jump bio) That original Poma surface lift is still in
    service in 2001 at the Lake City Ski Hill. (Henry Woods interview)

  • In Telluride the rope tow at the Ball Park is moved to the steeper slope of Grizzly Gulch
    [now the lower part of the Plunge]  The Ski Hi Ski Club is organized. (Billy Mahoney oral


  • Splitkein introduces a ski with 22 laminations and a plastic bottom (Micarta) leading
    manufacturers to experiment with synthetic materials and eventually develop modern
    synthetic skis.  Meanwhile, cross-country skiers and jumpers continue to favor laminated
    wood construction and no edges. (Nine Thousand Years of Skis, by Ted Bays)

  • The Hidden Valley ski area in Rocky Mountain National Park needs upgrading, but
    allotting funds for the improvements requires an Act of Congress.   George Peck,
    President of Estes Park Winter Sports Club, and Fred Clatworthy, Jr. mount a successful
    write-in campaign to get funding. The improved area opens on December 18, 1955 with
    two surface lifts and a new lodge. (Estes Park Area Historical Museum “Museum Pieces”
    Vol. 15, No. 4 Fall 1995 and George Peck oral history)

  • The U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame is dedicated in Ishpeming, Michigan.  (National Ski
    Hall of Fame brochure)

  • For the first time in history, the U. S. fields a full team at an FIS meet.  Six of the 17-
    member team are from Steamboat Springs.. (A History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)


  • Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area moves its facilities from the summit of the pass to its present
    location on the eastern slope. Stock is sold in the Wolf Creek Ski Development
    Corporation.  Ed Sharp of Monte Vista serves as first president of the development
    company until 1969 and as unpaid manager of the ski area from 1955 through 1960 and
    again from 1963-65. (Kelly Boyce interview)

  • Stockholders purchase Loveland Ski Tow Inc.  The area's first manager is **Pete
    Seibert. Partners include C.A. Upham, Al Bennett, Robert Murri, Bill Bolin, and Pricilla
    Barnard.  (Loveland historic timeline – web)

  • Maria Bogner of Munich designs sleek stretch pants and skiwear out of a Helanca/wool
    blend, bringing about a revolution in ski clothing.  The Bogner clothing line is introduced to
    the U.S. in 1955 via the cover of Ski Mag. (Skiing Right by Horst Abraham)

  • The third International Ski School Congress at Val D-Isere France reviews a new ski
    technique developed by the Austrians called wedeln.  The teaching system eliminates
    upper body rotation.  American ski schools are largely resistant to change, but **Willy
    Schaeffler, coach of Denver University’s ski team, promotes the revolutionary new
    teaching method.    (Skiing Right)


  • Bob Lange makes the first ever-plastic ski boot by supplanting certain parts of leather
    boots with fiberglass. He dominates the marketplace for the next decade. (Ski Mag,
    January 1986 Anniversary Issue)
  • March:  **Earl Eaton takes **Pete Seibert to see Vail Mt. (unnamed at the time.)  
    Seibert is stunned by the extensive back bowls. They purchase the Hanson Ranch of 500
    acres at the base of the mountain  for approx $110 per acre.  (Vail, by June Simonton and
    the Hauk Report on the Chronology of Vail)

  • The Flying Finns wow 7,000 spectators at Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival with their
    new "torpedo" style of ski jumping.  They lean far over the tips of their skis with arms
    locked at their sides. (The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs)

  • Ed Scott perfects an aluminum alloy ski pole (Ski Mag, Buyers Guide, 1985, “The Man
    Who Gave Skiing the Shaft” by Seth Masia).


  • **Buddy Werner of Steamboat Springs wins the Lauberhorn Combined at Wengen,
    Switzerland.  He becomes the first American male to win major downhill races in Europe
    including the Hahnenkaam at Kitzbuhel (1954, 1956, and 1962.) (The History of Skiing at
    Steamboat Springs)

  • July 6, 1958 - James Temple breaks ground for the new Storm Mountain Ski Area in
    Steamboat Springs. Between 1958 and 1961 he secures options to buy 827 acres of
    meadow land at the base of the mountain. "Champagne powder" is the descriptive phrase
    used to promote the area.  He gives credit to a Kremmling rancher, Joe McElroy, who
    said the fluffy dry snow was "lighter than champagne bubbles".  (p. 109, A History of
    Skiing in Steamboat Springs)

  • Buttermilk at Aspen formally opens in December of 1958 with Friedl Pfeifer serving as
    president of the Buttermilk Mountain Skiing Corporation. (Nice Goin’, by Friedl Pfeifer)  

  • Magic Mountain Ski Area operated by Foothills Skiing Corporation, Inc. opens near
    Golden.  Although it operates just one season, it is noteworthy for introducing the first
    snowmaking equipment in Colorado.  It sells the snowmaking equipment to the new
    Broadmoor Ski Area.  The tows are sold to the new Indian Hills (Geneva Basin) ski area.
    (D. Post, Nov.17 and 18, 1958 and Larchmont Engineering contract)

  • Aspen Highlands, developed by **Whipple (Whip) Jones who owns the base property, is
    dedicated on January 17, 1959.  **Pete Seibert and **Earl Eaton from Loveland Basin
    have laid out trails and lift line corridors. (Hauk Report on The Chronology of Aspen

  • Vail Corporation, under the direction of **Pete Seibert, is formed to plan and develop
    Vail Mountain.  The Forest Service approves the site in September of 1959, allowing
    construction to start in 1961.  Stockholders form a general partnership for acquisition and
    disposition of real estate under the name of  “The Transmontane Company.” (Vail – Story
    of a Colorado Mountain Valley, by June Simonton)

  • **Cliff Taylor of Aspen develops the Graduated Length Method  of teaching- (GLM)
    (Skiing Right)

  • Many small areas across the state had their birth in the 1950s and served local
    communities, but most only survived a few years. A few of the “ghost” areas operating
    during the 1950s include:  Grand Mesa; Mancos Hill; Baker Mountain near Kremmling;
    Frosty Basin Ski Area near Granby, Pikes Peak; Ski Dallas on Dallas Divide, Redstone;
    and Ski Idlewild at Winter Park.

** Indicates Colorado Ski Hall of Fame

(Compiled by Patricia Pfeiffer, Chair, Colorado Ski Museum History Committee)