Located just 9 miles northwest of Aspen, Snowmass is a mountain town that is today known for its small-town charm and excellent skiing and snowboarding. But this town had deep cultural roots even before it began drawing in visitors from around the country. Take some time to delve into the Snowmass history and discover what life was like before it became a top outdoor adventure destination!
Early Inhabitants of Snowmass
The original inhabitants of what is today known as Snowmass were the Ute Tribe, who fished, hunted, and gathered during the summers in Snowmass’s Brush Creek Valley. The first European explorers came to Snowmass in the early 1850s.
Ranching History of Snowmass
About 30 years later, the area began to be used by ranchers running sheep and cattle. As more people left the mining industry in nearby Aspen, more of the land in Snowmass was slowly acquired and used mainly for ranching. In 1958, thanks to Aspen’s success as a burgeoning skiing destination, Olympic skier Bill Janss set his sights on acquiring ranchland at the base of the mountains in Snowmass to be turned into a ski area. Snowmass-At-Aspen first opened in 1967 and its growth quickly turned into the world-class ski destination that it is today.
Historic Sites & Events in Snowmass
The Little Red Schoolhouse is a historic relic of Snowmass’s early days of learning in a one-roomed schoolhouse. As the only present-day school in Brush Creek Valley, this schoolhouse built in 1894 is used today as a preschool serving the Snowmass community. The iconic red building is a reminder of Snowmass’s humble beginnings.
The Anderson Ranch Arts Center still echoes Snowmass’s history of ranching. Several buildings formerly owned by Charles Hoaglund, one of the original prominent ranchers from the late 1800s, still stand today as part of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
The Snowmass Rodeo is also a favorite for residents and visitors alike. Bareback riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, and bull riding are just a few of the events that kids and adults participate in at the Snowmass Rodeo. Snowmass’s cowboy culture is brought to life at the attendance of a Snowmass Rodeo! Enjoy this local favorite during the summer.