The Raoul Wille Shrine (Aspen Mountain)

The Raoul Wille Shrine is dedicated to the memory of local Raoul Wille.  He died of altitude sickness on October 11, 1998 while climbing Mt. Burunse near Mt. Everest in Nepal.  Raoul was the son of Lou and Lynne Wille who built and managed the Tyrolean Lodge at 200 W. Main Street in Aspen.  Raoul was one of four children and was an avid ski racer.   Raoul operated the lodge from the mid 1980's until his untimely death.  The lodge continues to be operated by the Wille family.  A pair of Raoul’s skis is mounted on the front of the Tyrolean Lodge building.

For more on Raoul Wille, see these three pages:,-106.881351&t=p&source=embed&ie=UTF8&msa=0&spn=0.026678,0.051498&z=14&hl=en&mid=zX5NA_mVzUls.kKkkdyrW4jXs


Photo of Raoul Wille on a trek to Mt. Burunse. Photo credit to

Sometime after his death, (exact date not known) friends and family of Raoul built the shrine using lodgepole pine trunks to build a three-sided and roofed structure.  They filled the structure with items Raoul had collected.  Inside are his purple and yellow Alpine skating boots.  In the background are skis, family photos, crystals, beer bottles, a flag for “The Who”, and many, many other items.  Outside are Tibetan prayer flags, and also animal skulls and bones strung from the trees.  For the shear volume of things contained in the shrine, this one is among the best. 

The Raoul Wille Shrine is on Aspen Mountain.

See this Snowmass Sun newspaper article of March 7, 2012 by David Wood, "Three Aspen Mountain shrines dedicated to locals"  (This article is set out in full below at the bottom of this page.)

"SHRINE SHIHAN" Tim Mooney conducts a tour of four of the Aspen Mountain Shrines in this Aspen 82 video (2:56):  "Aspen Mountain | Shrine Tour part 1." Included in this part 1 tour are these Shrines: Raoul Wille, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and John Denver. 

Also, see the postscript near the bottom of this page regarding the Raoul Wille bench.

If you have any photos of or information about this item that you would like to share for use on this page, please send to the author at

This shrine is covered in the book, "Sanctuaries in the Snow--The Shrines and Memorials of Aspen/Snowmass."  The book may be purchased on this page on this site:


Click on images to enlarge.

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  Mounted skis on the outside of the Tyrolean Lodge on Main Street in Aspen.
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Mounted skis at the Tyrolean Lodge A photo of Raoul Wille at the Tyrolean Lodge
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Postscript:  There is a wooden bench dedicated to Raoul Wille on the Rio Grande bike trail in Aspen.  See photos in the next section below.  (Photo credit to David C. Wood, Jr.)         

Click on images to enlarge.

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Below is an article by David Wood about the Raoul Wille Shrine that appeared in the Snowmass Sun newspaper.

Three Aspen Mountain shrines dedicated to locals

Not all the shrines on Aspen Mountain are dedicated to famous people, such as the shrines to Jerry Garcia, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Houser, Jimi Hendrix, and John Denver. There are also some shrines dedicated to locals such as Adam Dennis, John Nicoletta and Raoul Wille.

Adam Dennis

Adam Dennis died on April 4, 2011. at the age of 38, when he was caught in an avalanche in the Desolation Row area, between Maroon and Tonar bowls in the Aspen Highlands backcountry.

Dennis had been an Aspen-area resident for 14 years, working as a professional photographer and guest services manager at some of the area's most prominent hotels, including the Viceroy in Snowmass Village. He was said to have the ability to bring people together in friendship, and nowhere was that more evident than in his unique and inspiring passion for music and his deep love of sharing it with others.

His shrine was established on April 11, 2011. Several items in his shrine relate to the very popular band he loved so very much, Widespread Panic.

John Nicoletta

John Nicoletta was a 27-year-old Aspen-based extreme skier who was killed at the Alyeska resort in Alaska on April 11, 2008, while competing in the U.S. World Freeskiing Championships. His shrine contains many items, including photos of him, newspaper articles about his death, several pairs of skis, Tibetan prayer flags, a wooden swing with his name carved into the seat, a frying pan, a shovel, an eagle statue, wind chimes made out of cut-up ski poles, and a paperback copy of Jack Kerouac's book, “On the Road.”

Raoul Wille

Raoul Wille died of altitude sickness on Oct. 11, 1998, while climbing Mt. Burunse near Mt. Everest in Nepal. He was the son of Lou and Lynne Wille, owners of the Tyrolean Lodge at 200 W. Main St. in Aspen. He was one of four children and an avid ski racer. He operated the lodge from mid-1980 until his untimely death.

A pair of his skis is mounted on the outside of the lodge building. His shrine is a three-sided and roofed structure made of lodge-pole pines, and filled with many of his possessions, including his purple and yellow alpine skating boots, skis, family photos, crystals, beer bottles, a flag for the musical group “The Who,” and many other items. Around the structure are animal skulls and bones, hung from the trees with wire.

David Wood ( is the author of the best-selling book about the Aspen shrines, “Sanctuaries in the Snow — The Shrines and Memorials of Aspen/Snowmass.” He donates all of his profits from book sales to a local charity, The Trashmasters Scholarship Fund. The book can be purchased in Snowmass Village at Snowmass Sports, the Stew Pot, Sundance Liquor and Gifts, the Village Market, and 81615, as well as at various locations in Aspen.

Sanctuaries in the Snow
The Shrines of Aspen/Snowmass
(Including plaques, memorials, displays And miscellaneous items)

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