Download e-book for kindle: On Rope by Allen Padgett, Bruce Smith

By Allen Padgett, Bruce Smith

Lower than flooring mountaineering

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21 Just as the entrepreneurs of the Tenth Mountain Division had expected, skiing was growing. 4 million in 1964. 1 million skier days in 1964; of these, 393,000 took place in the destination resorts—locales such as Aspen and Steamboat Springs, which catered primar­ ily to overnight guests rather than to day skiers who drove to nearby slopes from Denver and other Front Range cities, then returned home in the evening. 22 Aspen, Winter Park, and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Pico and Stowe, Vermont; and Squaw Valley, California, opened for business between 1936 and 1949.

LTV Aerospace, a subsidiary of Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) Corp. of Dallas, purchased Steamboat Springs’s Mt. 26 A decade later, Twentieth-Century Fox purchased the Aspen Skiing Corporation. What these corporations possessed that most ski area en­ trepreneurs did not was capital, and lots of it. This was money to be used to expand, and so to make more money. Perhaps no­ body understood how to do that so well as William Janss. Janss started Snowmass ski area at the same time, and in a similar fashion, as Vail founders Pete Seibert, a veteran of the Tenth Mountain Division, and Earl Eaton, a miner, began work on their resort.

What mattered was skiing, and the social hier­ archy that developed each season was predicated on their abil­ ities on the mountain. The skiing life was the American myth of the new beginning in as real and distilled a form as could be found during the latter twentieth century. Skiing’s golden age peaked at di erent times for di erent towns. It was epitomized by a sense of freedom, a shared ca­ maraderie in the face of hard times, and a deep understanding that the ski life was about something very di erent from what was going on in the rest of America.

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