By the 1960s, fiberglass construction of skis had been improved to equal the performance of metal skis, but were more expensive and not yet as durable. For advantages and details on plastics and construction, see Nine Thousand Years of Skis. Even with high- tech materials, skis retained their basic Telemark shape.
January 1, 1960 - Ski Broadmoor is dedicated and becomes the first area in the state to show the value of artificial snow. The area buys snowmaking equipment from the defunct Magic Mountain. A new Larchmont snowmaker is dubbed "The Phenomenal Snowman.” (Jan. 1, 1960 Rocky Mt. News.)
The Winter Olympic Games are held at Squaw Valley, CA. Many Coloradoans help plan and run events. Penny Pitou wins silver in downhill and giant slalom; Betsy Snite wins silver in slalom.
The Wolf Creek Ski Area is sold to an investment group from Dallas, but is foreclosed in 1963 and Wolf Creek Ski Development Corporation regains ownership. Ed Sharp resumes managing the area.
Skiing at Climax ends in 1960 when the Climax Moly mine removes employee housing. (Tape, **Jack Gorsuch)
Crested Butte opens on Thanksgiving Day, 1961, with a 2300-foot Doppelmayr
T-Bar and a rope tow on the northern flank of Mt. Crested Butte.
**Pete Siebert sells limited partnerships in the proposed Vail development. By December of 1961, Vail is fully financed. (See VAIL- Story of a Colorado Mountain Valley by June Simonton)
Indianhead Mountain Ski Area, later named Geneva Basin, opens in mid-December after two years of preparation. The runs are engineered by Sel Hannah. General Manager is Bob Gebhardt. The area is owned by Indianhead Mountain Corporation. The area buys two rope tows from the defunct Magic Mountain area and also installs a Heron double chair and Constam J-Bar. (Cervis Journal Oct. 18, 1961)
The Summit County Development Corporation opens Peak Eight at Breckenridge on December 15, 1961. The new area has one Heron double chairlift, a short T-Bar, and base shelter. ( Hauk Report)
Steamboat Springs Corporation organizes with partners **John Fetcher, **Marvin Crawford, **Gerald Groswold, **Bud Werner, William Sayre and Sam Huddleston to develop Storm Mountain as a major downhill ski area. Common stock is sold. The area opens on December 22, 1961 with one lift - a beginner's Poma. **John Fetcher spearheads the Steamboat Partnership responsible for refinancing the plan. The new expanded ski area officially opens in 1963. (The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs by Sureva Towler)
** Bob Beattie, University of Colorado ski coach, is named head coach of the U. S. Alpine Team for the 1962 FIS World Championships. He will go on to coach the 1964 and 1968 alpine Olympic teams.
1962 is a watershed year for Colorado skiing. Millions of investment dollars pour into the state. During the next decade nine destination resorts will be built.
The Head metal ski is beginning to catch on. Safety bindings are being marketed. Clothing is more functional; condo ownership starts to be profitable; jet air service is improved;
Vail Mountain opens December 15, 1962 with a Bell gondola lift- the first gondola in Colorado.
In January of 1963 Crested Butte celebrates its 7500-foot Telecar gondola installation. The rope tow has been replaced by a J-bar. (Rocky Mt. News, February 1, 1963)
Snowmass –at-Aspen opens with guided ski-touring. "Trackmaster" snowcats take skiers to the 12,000 foot elevation.
Dillon Reservoir is completed and starts filling with water. Earlier, the little town of Dillon had been moved to higher ground.
January 12, 1963 - Storm Mountain at Steamboat Springs officially opens with one chairlift. (The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs by Sureva Towler)
The National Ski Jumping Championships are held at Howelsen Hill. Gene Kotlarek breaks the national jumping records twice with jumps of 318 and 322 feet. ABC Wide World of Sports televises the event. (The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs by Sureva Towler)
Lake Eldora opens - George Sweeney is President of the Lake Eldora Corporation. Sel Hannah of Franconia N.H. laid out the course with the help of Gabor Cseh and **Bob Beattie, ski coach at C.U. and new coach of the U.S. Olympic ski team. (Hauk Report)
Telluride explores the feasibility of a ski lift project on a shady mountainside just south of city. (Telluride Times, Dec. 21, 1962). The Ball Park run is a beehive of activity (Telluride Times, Feb. 8, 1963.) "Telluride Ski, Inc. will explore new avenues leading to development of Telluride as a ski resort.” The organization was formed in 1961. (Telluride Times, April 5, 1963)
Aspen Ski Corporation acquires Buttermilk Mountain by exchange of stock. (Hauk Report)
Colorado Ski Country USA is formed. It uncorks the "Ski Country USA" ad campaign.
In October 1963, Aspen’s streets are paved.
In January of 1964 the Kendall Ski Hill in the town of Silverton opens with a 1,000- foot rope tow from Camp Hale. Called the Bingle Tow, it would be replaced in 1998 with a Tramway Board approved Handle Tow (rope) that operates on weekends and holidays.
**Bill Marolt, **Billy Kidd and **Jimmie Heuga are members of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Alpine team coached by ** Bob Beattie. **Kidd and **Heuga place second and third in slalom, becoming the first American men to win alpine Olympic medals.
In the summer of 1964, Geneva Ski Corporation headed by Walter Burke buys Indianhead Mountain Ski Area at auction from the Small Business Administration. (Denver Post, March 24, 1965)
The town of Telluride is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The Wilderness Act of 1964: is enacted. "Wilderness is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" and "which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions." The Wilderness Lands are a part of the National Forest System and are to be designated by the U.S. Congress.
**Buddy Werner is killed in an avalanche in Switzerland.
The National Ski Areas Association creates the Uniform Trail Ratings System.
**Fred Iselin becomes director of Aspen Highlands Ski School after **Stein Eriksen retires.
President of the Durango Ski Corp, **Raymond T. Duncan, announces the first phase of the multi-million $ ski development of Purgatory to be completed by December 1965. The San Juan Development Corp is being formed to finance. (D. Post, Jan. 25, 1965, p. 14) Purgatory opens as scheduled (Dec. 4, 1965 Gazette-Telegraph.)
In February of 1965, the name of Storm Mountain at Steamboat Springs is officially changed to Mt. Werner in memory of **Buddy Werner.
The cross-country skiing movement quietly begins during the mid- 1960s.
July 4, 1965: Pando, where the 10th Mountain Division troops trained during WWII, is officially closed as an Army base. The 10th Mt veterans hold memorial services at the top of Tennessee Pass where a granite monument is dedicated to fallen comrades.
On May 17, 1966 ,a special use permit is issued to Sunlight Ski Corporation by the Forest Service. John Higgs of Chicago, along with 23 stockholders, own the operation. Higgs had bought land in the area, including the small Holiday Hills ski area dating from the 1940s. The Vanderhoof family is actively involved in the development of Sunlight. The new ski area formally opens on Dec. 16, 1966.
The new Powderhorn Ski Area opens on Thanksgiving with a double chair, two Pomas, and a two-story lodge. The area is 45 miles east of Grand Junction, set in a bowl on the north side of Grand Mesa. (Denver .Post, Oct. 10, 1966, p.46)
The small ski area of Hesperus, west of Durango, has a T-Bar and 2 rope tows. Hesperus Ski Area extends its cross-country run to accommodate the U. S. National X-C Championships.
February 6, 1967 – The Forest Service issues a special use permit to Ski Valley USA, Inc. (KEYSTONE) . **Max Dercum and his son, Rolf, are the
Denver is the U. S. Olympic Committee’s choice for the winter Olympics of 1976 (RMNEWS, 12/18/67.) In 1970 the IOC chooses Denver to host the Olympic Winter Games of 1976. (See CSSM Special Collection on the Turn-down of the Denver Olympics)
The World Cup of alpine ski racing debuts to determine the best alpine skier in the world. Serge Lang is credited with the idea.**Bob Beattie is instrumental in structuring the competition and point system. (Ski, Oct. 1985)
Elmo Bevington purchases the Monarch Ski Area. Adds lifts, cuts new trails, and builds a new lodge. (Winter Fun 1988-89)
Summer/1967 - portable Pony tow put in the 13,000 foot Montezuma Basin on north side of Castle Peak southwest of Ashcroft. **Max Marolt of Aspen and Dick Milstein of Sunlight area used mining claims. Tow operated through October. ( See Hauk Report)
Snowmass-at-Aspen officially opens on December 17, 1967. Bill Janss is developer. Approx $10 million is invested in the West Village. In October of 1968 Janss Investment Corp sells to American Cement Corp (ACC owned 50% of the stock.) (For beginning studies by Forest Service in late '50s and on, see Hauk Report.)
NASTAR, (National Standard Race) is inaugurated at eight ski areas. John Fry of Skiing Mag is the brainchild. **Bob Beattie becomes commissioner of NASTAR in 1969 when 27,000 participants at 39 ski areas take part. The race provides a national standard so that recreational skiers can rate themselves by a handicap system. ( Colorful Colorado, Jan/Feb 1971)
In December of 1968, Joe Zoline arrives in Telluride to investigate the possibility of developing a major ski area. (**Billy Mahoney tape).
Arapahoe Ski Area inaugurates ski instruction for amputees in January of 1968 along with a pilot project for disabled children from Children’s Hospital in Denver. **Willy Schaeffler offers free skiing and instruction. The children’s program is switched to Winter Park the following year. (Stethoscope, Feb. 14, 1969)
The Federal Environmental Protection Act is passed obligating the Forest Service to require ecological, economic, and social impact statements to be drawn up as well as procedures for mitigating any impact to the use of federal lands.
Ralston Purina forms Keystone International, Inc., merging with and acquiring all of the outstanding stock of Ski Valley USA. The firm draws up a comprehensive master plan for the ski area. (Colorful Colorado. Vol. 6 – Jan/Feb 1971)
Sunlight Ski Area is in financial trouble. Sunlight Ranch Company becomes the legal permittee and the area continues to operate. Aspen Ski Corp becomes involved briefly. ( Hauk Report)
VAIL Associates, Ltd. becomes Vail Associates, Inc. The resort begins a $3 million expansion of Lionshead, including installation of a 6-passenger Bell gondola. At dedication, Simba the lion adds a lively spark to the ceremony. (Vail, Triumph of a Dream by Peter W. Seibert)
LTV Aerospace Corp, a subsidiary of Ling-Temco-Vought of Dallas, purchases the Werner Mountain Ski Area at Steamboat Springs for $4 million in September of 1969. The master plan includes a village, 18-hole golf course, and convention center. (The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs by Sureva Towler)
**Colorado Ski Hall of Fame member
(Compiled by Patricia Pfeiffer, Chair, Colorado Ski Museum History Committee)