Aspen's business decision overlooked one reality: A board isn't a ski.
It's not merely a cruel April Fool's joke. As of April 1, 2001, the Aspen Skiing Co. has ended a 65-year-tradition and decreed that snowboarders will be allowed on Aspen Mountain, a.k.a. Ajax. The decision was all business; the company feared the ban at its flagship mountain was not only stunting Ajax traffic but also scaring boarders away from its three other mountains, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk, all of which allow riders.
The Aspen board ban has been one of the most public, controversial and complex debates in the snow business. Aspen outsiders, from multi-millionaire snowboard tycoon Jake Burton to multi-billion-dollar corporations such as Nike, have weighed in on ending the ban. To get the inside line, we turned to the actual experts, the Aspen residents who prowl the mountain every day, teaching, patrolling and just enjoying the skiing. They know best, and this is what they had to say. Now you be the judge. (The comments were left anonymously on the Aspen Daily News Tipline and printed in the newspaper on Jan. 7.)