Aspen Mountain (often called by its former name of Ajax among locals) is a ski area in the western United States, located in Pitkin County, Colorado, just outside and above the city of Aspen. It is situated on the north flank of Aspen Mountain (for which it is named) at an elevation of 11,212 ft (3,417 m). Aspen Mountain forms the end of Richmond Ridge, a long ridge that extends 10 miles south at approximately 11,000 ft (3,400 m) to join the main spine of the Elk Mountains. Founded 74 years ago in 1946 by Walter Paepcke, Aspen was the first ski area venture of the Aspen Skiing Company. It is one of four adjacent ski areas operated by the company as part of the Aspen/Snowmass complex. At only 673 acres (2.7 km2), it is somewhat small compared to other ski areas, especially compared to the much larger nearby Snowmass ski area, and retains a unique cultural flavor that harkens to the earlier days of recreational skiing in the state. The ski area is located within the White River National Forest and is operated under permit from the U.S. Forest Service. It has three restaurants on the mountain; two are on top (one of which is a club that only allows members) and one mid-mountain.