Whip Van Ness Jones - Sport Builder - 2000


Hall
Whip Jones has become a legend in Colorado as the builder and owner of internationally renowned Aspen Highlands, one of the four great ski areas of Aspen. He first skied at Aspen in 1947 and within a few years had brought a house in town and moved in.  Aspen Highlands had its beginning in 1956. Whip owned the land at the base of the mountain and became interested in developing it after the Forest Service suggested it would be a “great place for a ski area.”  Whip first offered the opportunity to Aspen Skiing Corporation, who turned it down.  From then on it was full steam ahead. He hired Dick Durrance to do a feasibility study and Fritz Benedict to design a lodge. When the area opened in 1958, it had three lifts, including the world’s longest single section double chairlift. Stein Erickson was director of the ski school and later, Fred Iselin. Aspen Highlands soon became known throughout Colorado as the affordable, laid-back ski area with the longest vertical in the state.  Whip’s vision and marketing ingenuity proved invaluable when he had to compete with the larger Aspen Ski Corporation and its three-area ski ticket  (Ajax Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass). His innovative marketing lured many a skier to the Highlands with the promise of fun. Many Coloradoans remember with nostalgia the wine and cheese parties, Stein Erickson’s flips on skis and the opening of Steeplechase, near the top of Loge Peak–a steep, avalanche-prone slope that gave expert skiers a taste of adventure.  In 1992, after the longest continuous ownership of any ski area in Colorado, Whip Jones donated the Highlands stock to his Alma Mater, Harvard University. Eventually the Aspen Skiing Company agreed to buy the area and today, Highlands is part of the four-mountain Aspen ski complex under common management.  Whip Jones had made lasting contribution to skiing in the state through his vision, hard work and creative marketing. He was inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in October 2000.  Whip Jones past away June 29, 2002 in Tallahassee, Florida. He was 91.   (Deceased)