The Girls of Aspen, 1971

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As good as things are today, the 1970s were the best decade for skiing and arguably the best town to be a skier was Aspen. Ketchum can make a damn good argument for it, but Aspen’s ski culture was a tour de force. Pro racers, hot dogs, starlets, dealers, Spider Sabich and Claudine Longet, Hunter S. Thompson…in the 1970s everyone, it seemed, was in Aspen.

And so was Life magazine photographer John Dominis, who shot these photos in 1971, just two years out of the summer of love and still relatively early in the arc of the red wine and hooch glow of the ski sport. They’re all women, so it probably wasn’t too harsh of an assignment for Dominis, but that’s a shame — with an incredible time capsule archive like this, it would be rad to see the dudes, too.

Via Retronaut

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{ 15 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Norcalpete

    Love the pic of them crammed into the “dorm room” – not a computer, ipad, nook etc. in sight – just reading a book!

  • Pat

    Loved Aspen the winter of ’67. Two young-buck Canadians on a dirtbag road trip, with no military draft to concern us. Nine states, seven months. Hustled up restaurant work when we needed it. Skied Mammoth, Alta, Jackson, Vail, and finished the season in Aspen (we were down to $8 between us). Worked at the Jerome, then the Village Pantry. Bought Lange boots in Jackson – jeez they were painful. I returned to leather boots for the next few years.
    I was a pretty shy guy, my buddy was not — yes, we enjoyed the fun company of some sweet chicks en route. Another highlight: Filmore West in SanFran — 19-year-old Carlos Santana was the headliner. Nearly all of my skiing this past 30 years has been back-country in the Selkirks of B.C. Retired now, playing as much hockey as I can, and making annual pilgrimages to ski the Selkirks.

  • Lizzie newell

    OH such memories. I was six years old and attending Aspen Elementary School. My view of Aspen was a bit different at the time because my eye level was lower. We’d ski with Aspenauts on Saturdays at Buttermilk. It looks like most of the skiing photos were taken there. The yellow chair that one of the gals is sitting on was at the bottom of Buttermilk. I used to wait for my parents sitting in one of those chairs. These pictures seem to explain a lot about how I see the world and about my experience of the 70s. I now coach kid’s nordic skiing. I’ve been doing it for years.

  • Gregory Johnson

    Yeah, I remember those first lange boots, Pat, Painful is not the word for it, I use to get sores from where the top buckle went through the tongue of the boot where the lange flow was, had to put a bandage on it to be able to ski. But they were a stiff boot, that kept my ankle in place.

  • Dan Murphy

    Ahhh, the 70′s, when as a teen, I so wanted to make it to a K2 wet T-shirt contest after seeing carefully selected pictures of them in ski mags.

    I had a bud, Rodney, who I met in the early 80′s and lived on the east coast. He had spent a good amount of time in Aspen in the late 70′s until he “had” to leave, mostly for self-preservation sake. Just about every time I visited him on the Cape, he had a guest staying with him that was somebody he knew from his Aspen days.

    Thanks for the pics.

  • Ed Schultz

    Loved the article. I was about their age then, so where are they now & like me are they still skiing?

  • Bruce

    I second the idea for a “Where are they now ?” article. Skiing is a beautiful way of life.
    I would be glad to do some of follow up work on the article:)

  • Eric Sondeen

    Yes yes yes. USFS WWII trailers in Difficult Creek CG, Danny’s (The Depot), Paragon, Aspen Inn (Freddie Henchi Band), Rocking’ Horse, Country Road, the Armenian restaurant in the Jerome, topless @ J Hotel pool, the Grottos, Ashcroft Ski Touring and the original Pine Creek Cookhouse, Isabel & Stuart Mace sled dogs w Toklat Lodge, the old hospital and Solarium, Bill Stone’s Hickory House, Tim’s Sub Shop, local specials at Charthouse or Steak Pit, PoPo Saabs, Skiiers Chalet & chop chop service by walkie talkie, helping Fred get wood up to the Braun huts, wildflowers behind The Bells, near monthly deaths on the Bells, Pyramid, Capitol. Traffic jams up Maroon The A-Frames. Ruggerfest, Snowmass Rodeo, Baltimore Jim’s short riding season. Spann’s open Willys in winter, Deaf Camp Picnic, The old music tent, chocolate velvet by Nick’s mom at “LaCo” ( did ANYONE GET THAT RECIPE??), The Pub, the Rainbow Finger, Rick Dean & the Buckin Strings…

    …and yes, the incomparable outdoor women. Conundrum?

    How ’bout Grizzly Creek gas station and the monument to the Vista Dome rail car pre-Interstate? Vail Pass as a twisty two-lane?

    • Pat Clark

      Ah yes…. those were the days ! and the sixties were even better !
      Thanks for the really great reminders.
      Where is Freddie Henchi ?? He did a great benefit concert
      for the Roaring Fork Resource Center at the Daisy Duck Bar & Grill.
      Aspen resident – circa 1964 – 1981.

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