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Aspen History, Colorado

The city of Aspen Colorado needs no introduction. If there is something like a high equivalent of Malibu Beach, that is definitely Aspen, the ultimate ski destination for American celebrities. Beyond its highly priced real estates, its fancy boutiques and its fame, Aspen also has an interesting history behind.

Aspen History – The Silver Fever

The city’s original name was Ute City, after the Ute Indians (whose presence in the area can be traced back to 8000 years ago), and was named ‘Aspen’ in 1880 by miners seeking silver for very obvious reasons: aspen trees were all around. In the following years, Aspen became one of the most important silver extracting centers in the whole country, being the most productive silver-mining area between 1891 and 1892. Aspen’s history also holds two important records from that period: the discovery of a 2200 pound silver nugget (one of the biggest in the world) and being the first city in Colorado to have electricity. The city had a spectacular growth in the early 1890s: banks, theatres, railroads, schools, hospitals, even an opera house were built. From 300 inhabitants in 1880, Aspen came to be the home for more than 12 000 souls at the end of the 19th century. Yet, the silver fever didn’t last too long: the Panic of 1893 closed most of the mines and left the majority of miners unemployed. The population of Aspen fled even faster than it arrived. The few people who stayed continued to extract silver at a smaller scale but silver mining was on the limit of extinction and they had to rely on farming in order to survive.

Aspen History – Becoming an Upscale Ski Resort

In the ‘30s, some business people realized the long slopes, the powdery snow and the abandoned buildings in Aspen would make a good start for a ski resort. Immediately after World War II, Friedl Pfifer, part of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army, that had training grounds near Aspen, associated with businessman Walter Paepcke and founded the Aspen Skiing Corporation in 1946. Tourism boosted as the new resort was equipped with the longest lift back then and it hosted the FIS World Championship in 1950, one of the most important events in Aspen’s history. Aspen continued to grow, not only horizontally, with the inauguration of three new ski areas: Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, but it also developed as a cultural centre, hosting events like the Goethe Bicentennial Convocation or Aspen Music Festival and School. Cirque lift, the longest ski lift-served vertical in the US was inaugurated in 1997 in Snowmass. At a 4,406 feet rise, the lift uses renewable energy to operate. If Aspen’s intriguing history caught you attention, you might want to have a look at our Aspen hotel deals and Aspen vacation deals sections.

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  • lindamuraWinter sports at Aspen Snowmass, CO
    review by lindamura posted more then 30 days ago
    One of North America’s premier resorts, Aspen Snowmass is located on one of the four renowned peaks of Aspen area, a Rocky Mountain massif with a vertical drop of 4,406 feet. Getting here is a piece of cake. If you get to Aspen airport, it’s only six miles to Snowmass Village. ...
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