Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

Sandy Sabbatini (left) and Dick Murphy displaying off their catch in 1959 in entrance of Sabbatini Sport.
Aspen Historic Society/Courtesy photograph

We go to sports activities shops to amass skis and fishing poles and have many to select from, however shops focusing on sports activities advanced slowly in Aspen.

This description of fishing from the 1890 Aspen Occasions Day by day suggests how common the game was in Aspen: “The favourite pastime within the mountains within the summertime is trout fishing. There is no such thing as a different sport so harmless and amusing, so fascinating and on the similar time so remunerative as catching fish. There’s extra real satisfaction in touchdown even a six-inch trout than in killing a bear or roping a buffalo.”

However, the place may you purchase your gear?



By 1885, you can discover fishing gear at Mitchell and Crosby’s Nook Drug Retailer. Within the Nineties, Carbary’s E book Retailer on Galena Avenue provided cut up bamboo rods for $2.50 and an entire line of fishing deal with. Carbary’s opened in 1881 however didn’t get into fishing gear till 1885. A.E. Jones {Hardware} Retailer additionally provided fishing gear.

In 1909, the Aspen Occasions Day by day, which favored to insert phrases between articles only for enjoyable, stated, ”Take a prospector’s decide alongside along with your fishing rod.” You would purchase your rod at Cooper’s E book Retailer for as little as $1.25. ($34 in at this time’s {dollars}). It additionally marketed “fishing deal with that’s match for fishing.”



Twenty years later, Al Lamb’s drugstore received into the fishing-gear enterprise promoting, ”Trout fishermen, we’re prepared for you!”

You may assume that it wasn’t till ski services had been constructed that shops offered each fishing gear and skis, however, in 1934, Tomkin’s {Hardware} on Galena Avenue offered each; so did Cooper’s E book Retailer.

For the reason that Aspen Ski Membership started its ski operation in 1937, Aspen received its first “sports activities retailer,” Mike’s Store created by Mike Magnifico. It specialised in ski clothes and skis, and he crafted ski boots, too. In the summertime, he offered fishing objects. 

Magnifico’s store was the primary to have an annual fishing contest, catching the largest trout, and rewarding the winner, in 1940, with the prize of a Granger Champion fishing rod valued at $11 ($192 in at this time’s {dollars}). My uncle, Frank Willoughby, was the winner in 1941, touchdown a 20-inch rainbow from Snowmass Lake. Mike’s identify was modified to Magnifico Sports activities and later he offered to Sandy Sabbatini and it turned Sabbatini’s.

After the Aspen Snowboarding Co. opened operations on Aspen Mountain, the variety of shops that we’d consider as sports activities shops that offered each fishing and snowboarding gear started growing. Bert Bidwell and Sandy Sabbatini opened the Mountain Store in 1954.  Like Mike’s, they expanded their stock. Through the years, bicycles had been added and a broader line of clothes.

Aspen Sports activities opened in 1953 and remains to be in enterprise at this time. Aspen Sports activities was began by Steve Knowlton, who owned the nightclub the Golden Horn. He recruited Gale Spence, longtime coach for the Aspen Ski Membership, and John Oakes to run the enterprise. Knowlton situated the shop in a portion of his Golden Horn constructing. Spence and Oakes later purchased out Knowlton and moved to the current location on East Cooper. 

Spence and Oakes added a fishing contest for his or her retailer in 1954. Their model was touchdown the largest fish on opening day with a $25 ($220 in at this time’s {dollars}) present certificates to their retailer. The winner the primary yr was Tulia Lalli with a Brown trout caught on the Roaring Fork, weighing one pound, fourteen ounces.

Additionally within the Fifties, Elli of Aspen opened, principally as a vogue boutique with ski garments, nevertheless it additionally had a ski-rental store that offered Head skis. Stein Eriksen Sport opened on the Aspen Highlands in 1958 and moved to Hyman Avenue in 1964. Ski racer Anderl Molterer opened his sports activities store in 1963. Later (’60s-’70s), not counting Snowmass, the city added the Winter Store, Guido’s Swiss Sport Store, The Sport Store on the Centre, Sporthaus Linder, and Bell Mountain Sports activities.

Tim Willoughby’s household story parallels Aspen’s. He started sharing folklore whereas educating at Aspen Nation Day College and Colorado Mountain School. Now a vacationer in his native city, he views it with historic perspective. Attain him at [email protected]

By Admin

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