The Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center is a fledgling museum created after the 2010 discovery of bones from a young, female Columbian mammoth by a crew working to expand the Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village.
That major paleontological find led to the creation of the Snowmastodon Project and the recovery of more than 4,826 bones, including 49 tusks, 34 jaws and 23 skulls, from the Ice Age.
The $1 million dig was led by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and was completed in July 2011, just nine months after the original bones were found.
The scientific team recovered parts of at least 30 American mastodons, three Columbian mammoths, 10 giant bison, four ground sloths, three deer, a horse and a camel, plus specimens of 19 species of smaller animals and 26 different vertebrates.
The fossils are exceptionally well-preserved, with one tusk still being white, and they were found in three separate layers in what was the shoreline of a glacial lake during the Ice Age. The site dates back 43,500 to 130,000 years.
The Snowmass center features displays about the fossils, a half-size wooden mammoth, videos and interactive programming. The fossils were taken to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which conducted the dig at a breakneck pace so that the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District could continue the reservoir expansion project.