New Ajax terrain renamed Hero’s to honor Jim Crown and other Aspen heroes

Staff report
The Aspen Times
The trail map of Hero's on Ajax.
Aspen Skiing Co./Courtesy photo

Aspen Mountain’s new terrain, formerly referred to as Pandora’s, has been renamed Hero’s to honor all the people who played an instrumental role in the opening of the new terrain, most impactfully Jim Crown. 

Skico, in a press release, said Crown’s vision and leadership helped bring the ambitious expansion to reality. The former managing partner of Skico died in a racing accident in Woody Creek in late June.

The new high-speed quad and surrounding terrain pod is named in honor of him and all the Hero’s who brought the project to life.

“With Jim’s unexpected passing, we took some time to reflect on the family’s and our company’s enormous loss and the naming of this historic expansion,” says Geoff Buchheister, Skico CEO in a prepared statement. “Jim’s legacy and broad impact in Aspen stretched over 35 years, alongside many others we are also choosing to honor. We felt it was meaningful and appropriate to recognize all of the heroes who are tied to this terrain as we unveil this new project.”

The expansion stays true to historical trail names like Powerline and Harris’s Wall, and it honors many of the heroes of the resort who had significant ties to this terrain. There are runs dedicated to the first female ski instructor Elli Iselin, to 10th Mountain soldier Percy Rideout, and to pivotal ski patrol members like Eric Kinsman and Cory Brettmann. Tim Howe, who originally coined the name Pandora’s Box, will be recognized with a glade named after him, as well. In addition, Jim’s family has chosen other trail names that honor his life, loves, and amusements.

Hero’s will increase skiable acreage by more than 20% on the resort’s flagship mountain, according to the press release. With 1,220 vertical feet and more than 150 acres of new chutes, glades, and trails, this expansion will be Aspen Mountain’s first significant addition since the opening of the Silver Queen Gondola in 1985.

Not only does the addition diversify Aspen Mountain’s terrain mix and offer more skiing on the upper portion of the mountain, but it also acts as a functional hedge against future climate-challenged ski seasons. With its north-facing, high-elevation terrain (all above 10,000 ft.), this area is ideal for holding snow in seasons when natural snowfall is less plentiful. The terrain and lift will open this winter when conditions allow.

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