Jack DePagter, previous owner of the Holland House, began Wintersköl in 1951. In 1949, Jack was bartending at the Hotel Jerome. Noticing a lull in business during the 3 weeks after Christmas when the ski lifts closed, Jack decided that there must be something he and his friends could do to bring people into Aspen. His idea: a winter carnival, like those at European ski resorts and Wintersköl, a “toast to winter,” was born.
It was a week full of fun. Everyone got involved: Local businesses donated prizes, there was a ball at the Armory Hall, a Wintersköl Queen Contest (based on personality, looks, and the ABILITY to SKI!), a parade, special evenings at different bars and restaurants and every store front window was decorated to celebrate the Winter carnival. In fact, Jack himself drew ski caricatures all over town and had a team of volunteers to help color them in. It was all very festive indeed and hence, Wintersköl began. It was not, however, called Wintersköl at the very beginning. Not until Mr. Sardy came to visit Jack at the bar at the Hotel Jerome several years later & said Jack, a “toast to you”, I “Sköl” to you and the name “Wintersköl” was born.
Photo Credit: Aspen Historical Society