|Legend has it that prospectors discovered the Independence Gold Lode on July 4, 1879. A tent city sprang up that summer, and by 1880 there were 300 people living in the camp.
During the winter of 1899 the worst storm in Colorado’s history cut off the supply routes to Independence. The miners, who were running out of food, proceeded to dismantle their homes to make 75 pairs of skis and to escape en masse to Aspen. They made light of their adventure by making it a race of the Hunter’s Pass Ski Club—entry fee: one ham sandwich. [excerpt from Aspen Historical Society]