Five miles short of Aspen on the highway from Glenwood Springs, a new road branches right and climbs six miles past ranches and stands of spruce. Suddenly there it sits—backdropped by boulevards of snow, 50 miles of them, 3,600 vertical feet of them. This is Snowmass, built so quickly Aspenites call it "instant village." Jealousy will subside when Aspen realizes that Bill and Ed Janss, the California real-estate tycoons who revived Sun Valley, have doubled the skiing and the fun that the Aspen area offers. For Snowmass is out to get everybody on snow—whether on cross-country fours, ski bobs, snowmobiles, snowshoes, sleds or Heads. The Janss brothers and the American Cement Corp.—a heavy backer—believe that recreational real estate is golden. They have already recouped, in lots and apartments sold, almost half of the $12 million they have spent. Eventually they will spend $63 million more, to make Snowmass the biggest ski center in the country
A heated road—a ski-town first—winds past the pedestrians-only village. It is a 1,000-bed, 22-shop, six-restaurant, four-swimming-pool complex, built in nine months, with unique design unity.
When the water is 105° and the air 5° steam almost obscures the play, as the University of Minnesota ski club ends a day on the slopes with water polo in the Snowmass Olympic pool.
Stein Eriksen shows the ski school what parallel is all about. His 20 instructors from Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Norway and the U.S. teach American techniques—√† la Eriksen.
Ski bobbing—booming in Europe but banned by most U.S. areas—is Snowmass sport designed to get anyone on the hill who can ride a bike. Bobs are safe but swift; speed record is 102 mph.
An obstacle slalom during Snowmass opening festivities, with picnic tables and beer barrels for "gates," wipes out University of Minnesota contestant who jumped last hay bale too soon.
Skijoring, like water-skiing on snow with a pony for power, makes winter use of the Snowmass nine-hole golf course. There are also starlit sleigh-rides to barbecues in mountain cabins.