You are here

Aspen Mountain Ski Area

-A A +A
1938. South end of Aspen St.

Scandinavian miners brought skiing to Aspen, but commercial skiing did not begin until André Roche, a champion Swiss skier, proposed “a difficult course that will bring the world's greatest skiers to your door.” WPA funds and labor helped build Roche Run's first lift, consisting of old steel cable and frame tram towers from the Little Annie Mine. The cable was attached to a Model A Ford engine and an eight-passenger wooden toboggan tow that resembled a rowboat. When the lift opened in January 1938, lift tickets cost 10 cents a ride or 50 cents a day. The boat tow was followed in 1946 by Lift 1, then the world's longest lift (7,904 feet). At the top of the mountain is Herbert Bayer's octagonal sun deck (1946). Aspen Mountain began to set international standards for ski areas, a trend continued in 1986 with installation of the Silver Queen Gondola. One of the boat tows, antique wooden chair lifts and tram cables, and the base of Lift 1, now National Register relics, are on display in Willoughby Park, 700 South Aspen Street, at the base of Aspen Mountain.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Aspen Mountain Ski Area", [Aspen, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 496-496.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.