In the 1880s, the Ute Indians were once again displaced from their native territory when a migration of primarily European ranchers settled in the Brush Creek Valley, the area we now know as Snowmass Village. Soon sheep and cattle and fields of wheat and hay filled the valley, surrounded by the magnificent peaks of the Elk Mountain Range – Mt. Baldy, Mt. Daly, Capitol Peak – to name a few.
Following the silver bust that silenced the mining industry in the late 1890s, Charles Hoaglund, a Swedish native, was hired to close down the Smuggler Mine. In the early 1900s he brought his family to the Brush Creek Valley where they became one of the foremost ranching families in the area. Many of the buildings from the Hoaglund property can be found today on the campus of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. The one-room schoolhouse established in 1894, which daughter Hilda Hoaglund attended, remains a viable part of life in Snowmass. It is The Little Red Schoolhouse.
Many of the immigrant ranchers lived a rather quiet and isolated life during the 1940s and 1950s. While many of the early settlers were Scandinavian and ski equipment was not foreign to them, it wasn’t until 1958 that the seeds of a ski mountain were planted. That year, Bill Janss, a former ski champion, secretively began buying many ranches at the base of Burnt and Baldy mountains with the goal to develop a world-class ski resort like Aspen.
In 1967, with permits from the U.S. Forest Service in place, the 3,300 acre Snowmass-at-Aspen opened and in 1977 the Town of Snowmass Village was incorporated. Janss’ vision was clearly realized. Today Snowmass is a top-ranked ski resort that draws skiers from around the globe.
Facts: The Mall at Snowmass Village sits at an elevation of 8,223 feet while the highest point within the ski boundary is 12,510 feet; the year round population is just under 3,000 residents; the land area is 25.5 square miles and is home to the second largest ski area in the United States with a vertical drop of 4,406 feet, the most vertical in the country.
Snowmass will soon turn fifty years old. It has grown dramatically from primarily being a winter ski destination to becoming a year round recreational paradise. Downhill skiing and snowboarding predominate in winter though cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and, more recently, uphilling are popular seasonal pastimes. But come the spring, summer and fall, then hiking, mountain biking, rafting, golfing, fly-fishing, off-road Jeeping, horse-back riding and even an old fashioned rodeo fill the day. There is no more beautiful time of year to enjoy the best Mother Nature has to offer than in autumn when the aspen leaves turn golden yellow and a quieter pace prevails. An easy hike or Sunday drive is magical.
The world famous Anderson Arts Ranch, founded in 1966 by ceramicist Paul Soldner, is located on an idyllic five acre mountain campus minutes from the Village. The facility offers summer workshops in all areas of artistic expression – ceramics, sculpture, photography, printmaking, furniture building, painting and drawing. Additionally, the Ranch conducts several art auctions throughout the season. Ten-week long artist-in-residence programs and exhibits in the gallery fill the calendar during fall, winter and spring.
There is no lack of special events in Snowmass all year long with a myriad of mountain races, music festivals, food and wine gatherings, holiday celebrations, a hot air balloon weekend, and more.
With the development of Base Village, accommodations for visitors, shopping options and dining choices have expanded in recent years. Snowmass has evolved into an ideal place for families to create priceless memories and for organizations to hold conventions and meetings.
Private residences, whether condominium units or single-family homes, range from relatively modest to multi-million dollar properties, all located on the mountainside surrounding the ski area. Many luxury homes are ski-in, ski-out and many estates sit on large parcels of lush land with magnificent views.
All the above, and just 15 minutes from Aspen.