Vintage Skiing and Ski Style

My grandfather took dozens of photos of his family and friends skiing in Colorado, particularly Climax. 

The ski area at Climax was the first in the state to offer night skiing. My father and two aunts learned to ski at Climax. My grandfather hiked into the mountains around Climax and skied down to the town; often, I think, based on the number of photos he took doing this activity.

More than 100 ski areas in Colorado are now closed or abandoned, including Climax. The area closed in the early 1960s when the mining company shut down the town and moved residents to Leadville. The few that remain, areas like Aspen and Vail, have morphed into mega ski resorts. Whether this is good or bad depends on what skiing means to a person or family. 

Skiing was like walking for my family. In the 1950s and 60s kids learned how to ski at the nearest slope like many of us learned how to ride bikes. Now with ski passes more than USD 200/day I can’t imagine young parents affording what has effectively become a luxury lifestyle.

In the meantime we have these beautiful photos to remind us of a time when men wore ties to the slopes and women smoked between runs.

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