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Colorado State Historian Talks Ski History At Aspen Historical Society Event This Week

Aspen Historical Society
Lift One with Aspen in the background. On the left are residences, and at the base is a line waiting to load the lift. This is taken in December 1946, close to when the lift opened.


Dr. Duane Vandenbusche was designated as Colorado’s State Historian this past Colorado Day, Aug. 1, 2020, a title that he will hold until Colorado Day this year. Vandenbusche is also the state’s longest serving professor; he started teaching at Western State University in Gunnison in 1962, and he has authored a handful of books that have become the go-to classroom texts for Western Slope history. This week, he will join Aspen Historical Society for a virtual event covering Aspen and the state’s colorful ski history.

“We’re going to start off with the skiing in Colorado that went way back to the 1880s,” he said of the virtual event’s programming. “Of course, Aspen, of all the towns in the state, probably has one of the richest ski histories, so we’re going to spend a good bit of time on Aspen.”

Vandenbusche spoke with arts and culture reporter Kirsten Dobroth about what it’s like to be Colorado’s state historian, lessons from the pandemic and—of course—ski history ahead of the event. The Aspen Historical Society virtual discussion with Dr. Vandenbusche on Tues. March 16 at 7 p.m. is open to the public, and is part of the organization’s ongoing “Time Travel Tuesdays” programming. 


Kirsten was born and raised in Massachusetts, and has called Colorado home since 2008. She moved to Vail the day after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. Before relocating to Basalt in 2020, she also spent a year living in one of Aspen’s sister cities, Queenstown, New Zealand.
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