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The Stevie Ray Vaughan Shrine/Billy Zaugg Cabin (Aspen Mountain)

Stephen ("Stevie") Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990), born in Dallas, Texas, was an American blues guitarist.  His broad appeal made him one of America's most influential electric blues guitarists.  In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Stevie Ray Vaughan #7 in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.  (Top Ten:  1. Jimi Hendrix, 2. Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, 3. B.B. King, 4. Eric Clapton, 5. Robert Johnson, 6. Chuck Berry, 7. Stevie Ray Vaughan, 8. Ry Cooder, 9. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, 10. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.)

The story of Vaughan’s death in a helicopter crash is told in the section following all the photos below. 

His shrine used to be located at a silver miner’s log cabin with a tin roof on Aspen Mountain. However sometime around 2012-13 it was moved to a different location near the top of Ruthie's Run.  

Photos of the cabin and the shrine as it existed at the Cabin are below.  The cabin was occupied by silver miner William (Billy) Zaugg back in the mining days; see this site and advance to plaque #57 which contains a photo of this cabin:  Also see plaque #49 which has a photo of Billy Zaugg.   (Rachel Roberts designed the layout and compiled the historical facts and photographs for the placards which are featured in all of the 147 gondola cars at Ajax.  See:  Stevie Ray Vaughan's name had been burned into the wood over the door to the cabin (although his last name has been misspelled).  Also there were photos of Stevie posted on the outside and inside of the cabin and on the trees around the cabin.  Some yellow roses were tacked up to two of the trees.  Inside the cabin is a crude bed.   Skiers and riders use the cabin as a launch pad to do jumps--see photo below of local skier Jason Brown skiing over the Stevie Ray cabin in February 2008 (photo credit: photo by Jordan Curet)

There is a wooden sign over the door to the cabin (photo below) that says "Bill Zaugg's Cabin, the last miner to live on Aspen Mountain."  This sign was put up after Vaughan's named was burned into the wood over the door, and partially obscures it.  Around the time this wooden sign was put up over the door, all of the items pertaining to Stevie Ray Vaughan were removed.  Then later his shrine was recreated at the new location.   

For a PLUM TV Tim Mooney shrine tour which includes this shrine, see this video: (Unfortunately this link no longer works, but is kept here in case PLUM TV ever reactivates it.)

See this Aspen Journalism article of April 25, 2017 for more information on Billy Zaugg:  "The rich life of Aspen Mountain miner Billy Zaugg"   This article states that this cabin was not Billy Zaugg's cabin, but instead was the cabin of his brother Peter Zaugg.

See this Facebook page for Stevie Ray Vaughan:

Many thanks to Bob Hollenbach and Jesse Wright for helping the author find this shrine.

To see photos of the new SRV Shrine (after it was moved from the Billy Zaugg Cabin to a new location) see the last 18 photos of this Facebook photo album (you do not need a Facebook account in order to view the album):

See this article in the Snowmass Sun newspaper of April 25, 2012, "Four Former Shrines Dedicated to Musicians" by David Wood:  (This article is set out in full below at the bottom of this page.)

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

For more information and photos of this Shrine, see this Facebook photo album (you do not need a Facebook account to view this album):     

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.


The story of Vaughan’s death in the helicopter crash

On August 25, 1990, Vaughan and Double Trouble finished up the summer leg of a music tour with shows at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, just outside of East Troy, Wisconsin.  The show also featured Robert Cray and his Memphis Horns along with Eric Clapton's set.  Alex Hodges, Double Trouble's tour manager, arranged flight by helicopter with Omni Flights.  The next morning on August 26, 1990, Vaughan had what was described as a "horrible" nightmare. He dreamt that he was at his own funeral and saw thousands of mourners.  He felt "terrified, yet almost peaceful".  He shared this story with his bandmates and some trusted crew members.  The band played that night, as bass player Tommy Shannon hopped a helicopter already back to Chicago.  Eric Clapton played his set next.  At the end of the show, as fog settled over the audience in the arena, Clapton introduced Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, Robert Cray, and Jimmie Vaughan.  The musicians chose the appropriate titled "Sweet Home Chicago", a blues classic written by Robert Johnson.  After the 15-minute jam, the lights went up and the musicians went backstage to trade compliments.  Clapton and Vaughan talked about future dates in London to pay a tribute to Jimi Hendrix.  Double Trouble drummer, Chris Layton, recalls his last conversation with Vaughan backstage.  He then remembers Vaughan saying he had to call his girlfriend, Janna Lapidus, back in Chicago.  He headed out the door to the helicopters.  The musicians expected a long bus ride back to Chicago.  Vaughan was informed by a member of Clapton's crew that three seats were open on one of the helicopters returning to Chicago with Clapton's crew, enough for Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, and Jimmie Vaughan's wife Connie.  It turned out there was only one seat left, which Stevie Ray Vaughan requested from his brother, who obliged . Stevie strapped himself next to Clapton's crew.  It was 12:44 am.  Pilot Jeffrey Browne guided the copter off the ground as the lights flashed below.  Seconds later, the pilot banked the copter into a 300-foot high hill with the twisted metal scattered over an area of 200 square feet.  All on board were killed instantly.  No one realized that the crash had occurred until the helicopter failed to arrive in Chicago, and the wreckage was only found with the help of its locator beacon.  The main cause of the crash was believed to be pilot error.  Chris Layton, Jimmie and his wife were waiting for their copter so they could leave.  However they hadn't found out about the news until they returned to the motel in Chicago.  The next morning Stevie Ray Vaughan's brother Jimmie and good friend Eric Clapton were called to identify the bodies.  The media initially reported that Vaughan and his band had been killed in the crash.  Chris Layton saw this on the news and had security let him into Vaughan's motel room.  Layton saw that the bed was made and the clock radio was playing the Eagles' song, "Peaceful, Easy Feeling", which includes the lyrics "I may never see you again".  Layton and Shannon then called their families to let them know they were okay.  Stevie Ray Vaughan is interred in the Laurel Land Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

Below is the article about the Stevie Ray Vaughan Shrine written by David Wood and which appeared in the Snowmass Sun newspaper.
Four former shrines dedicated to musicians

By David Wood
Snowmass Sun, April 25, 2012

There are many shrines on Aspen Mountain dedicated to various musicians, including Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia, Michael Houser, the Beatles, and John Denver. There used to be four other shrines with a musical theme, covered below, but they are no longer in existence. All four were destroyed by vandalism. The vandalism to the Stevie Ray Vaughan Shrine occurred during the 2010-11 ski season, and the vandalism to the other three occurred just last month.

The Stevie Ray Vaughan Shrine
This shrine used to be located at the cabin that was occupied by silver miner William (Billy) Zaugg back in the mining days. Stevie Ray Vaughan's name was burned into the wood over the door to the cabin (although his last name was misspelled). Also there were photos of Stevie posted on the outside and inside of the cabin and on the trees around the cabin. Some yellow roses were tacked up to two of the trees. Now there is a wooden sign over the door to the cabin that says “Bill Zaugg's Cabin, the last miner to live on Aspen Mountain.” This sign was put up after Vaughan's named was burned into the wood over the door, and partially obscures it.
The Jimi Hendrix Shrine
Laminated pictures of Jimi used to line the trees at his shrine and there used to be a yellow plastic guitar hanging in one of the trees there. There was also a street sign reading “Jimi Hendrix Pl.” This shrine was located near the stone remains of an old miner's cabin, and rails in the ground from the old rail cars are still visible in the summer when there is no snow on the ground. There was quite a collection of old skis resting against the stone wall here too. In an Aspen Times Weekly article of Sept. 19, 2009, we find this quote by Scott Condon: "Surreal scene at Hendrix Shrine. At the Hendrix Shrine itself, two walls of an old stone foundation remain from what was presumably an old mining work shack or living quarters. Rusted tin roofing and rusted metal from ancient machinery litters the ground. Someone placed an old door to a boiler or stove, emblazoned with the name of the manufacturer from Denver, high on a perch on the stone foundation. It's a surreal scene at the Hendrix Shrine, just as it should be. At the north end of the site, there is a small, fading picture of Jammin' Jimmy pasted onto the trunk of a good-sized aspen tree, juxtaposed against this ancient stone wall in the background."
The Michael Jackson Shrine
The Michael Jackson Shrine was in the trees near the Buckhorn Cabin. It contained several large cutouts of Jackson, several laminated photos of him, some Tibetan prayer flags, a metal sign saying "King of Pop" with some musical notes on it, and some wind chimes.
The Drummer Shrine
The Drummer Shrine was near the Michael Jackson Shrine. It honored deceased great drummers, including Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Keith Moon, John Bonham, and Richie Hayward. It included a large drum hung from a tree by a chain, a drumhead where visitors could sign in, and laminated photos of each of these drummers.
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.