The Brandon Zukoff Shrine--BZ Hut (Snowmass)

Brandon Zukoff was killed, at the age of 26, in an avalanche on February 22, 2011.  It happened while he was skiing with two friends in Sand's Chute, which is located off the edge of Sneaky's run in the Big Burn area of Snowmass, and which descends a steep and rocky slope to the East Snowmass Creek valley.  All three carried beacons, probes and shovels and began their run between 2:30 and 3:15 PM that day.  Zukoff was the second of the three to descend the steep terrain, and he triggered the avalanche that swept him 1,000 vertical feet nearly to the bottom of the chute.  The other two located him within five minutes of the slide and dug him out, but he showed no signs of life. 

Officials distributed to the public a “Mission Statement” that Zukoff had written inside a personal photo album. This was done with the family’s blessing as a way of showing the type of person Zukoff was, officials said.  The Mission Statement reads as follows: 

“As I roam the earth as a free-spirited ski bum, I want to be known as a fun-loving thrill seeker who loves nothing more in life than homemade chocolate chip cookies and a big glass of skim milk.  I want to be looked at as a loyal grandson, son, brother, friend and teammate while maintaining the freedom to do things on the spur of the moment. I'm a Christian who believes all things happen for a reason, and good things happen to good people. After my days wandering this place we call earth are over, I want to be looked at and remembered as a caring man who would do just about anything for anyone. I want people to also remember me as random, intelligent, honest trustworthy, and last but not least a risk taker who loves the outdoors and skis like there's no tomorrow." 

The Brandon Zukoff Shrine (The BZ Hut) is located on Snowmass.  It is a very well-built structure made of downed timbers with four walls, a roof and an entrance.  Over the entrance is a carved wooden sign which says “BZ Hut.”   Inside are numerous laminated photos of Zukoff, a copy of an Aspen Daily News article dated February 24, 2011 and written by Curtis Wackerle, “Avalanche Victim was a Snowmass Local” (see: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/145418), a large and excellent painting which includes the above "Mission Statement" which is framed and under glass, and which was done by Gigi Podolak.  There is also a snowboard bench in the shrine, which has on it a black and white oval “BZ” sticker, and this is printed on the top of the board:   “Peace Love and Powder.”  There are prayer flags draped around the entrance and the outside of the hut.  The shrine was built in August 2011, with the final touches being put on it on February 22, 2012, the one-year anniversary of Zukoff's death, and the date of a memorial for him ("A day to remember and ski together") hosted by his girlfriend Kaitlyn Schappert.

See these additional articles that appeared in the Aspen Daily News: 

“Breaking News: Avalanche victim identified” February 23, 2011 by Curtis Wackerle, http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/145417.   

“Obituary—Brandon John Zukoff, 1984—2011” March 3, 2011, http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/145573

Also see these related articles which mention Zukoff and also his friend Andre Hartlief, who died in an avalanche near Wolf Creek, Colorado on February 16, 2012: 

“Obituary—Andre Hartlief” February 20, 2012, Aspen Daily News, http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/151938.   According to this article Zukoff’s girlfriend is Kaitlyn Schappert. 

"Two Friends, One Fate" by Amanda Charles, in the Aspen Times Weekly edition of March 1-7, 2012. Click this link and advance to page 27: http://issuu.com/theaspentimes/docs/atw3-1-12

See this article in the Snowmass Sun newspaper of April 18, 2012, "The Brandon Zukoff Shrine on Snowmass" by David Wood: http://www.snowmasssun.com/article/20120418/FEATURES/120429985&parentprofile=1039.  (This article is set out in full below at the bottom of this page.) 

The BZ hut was featured in the 2012-13 Aspen Times magazine publication, "Winter in Aspen" in an article by David Wood, "The Shrines: Unique, Mystical, and Hidden" starting on page 21.  Click this link and advance to page 21:  http://issuu.com/theaspentimes/docs/winterinaspen.  Photos of the front cover of this magazine, and the article, are in a section below.

Photos of the shrine are below.  Also, for more photos and other materials pertaining to this shrine, see this Facebook photo album (you do not need a Facebook account to view this album):  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.427933343945302.98299.100001859201674&type=1&l=cd1265e801.

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

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Thanks to Brad Unglert and Jen Demers for supplying the 8 photos in the photo section immediately below.

Click on images to enlarge.

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The photos in the photo section immediately below were taken by the author on March 3-5, 2012.

Click on images to enlarge.

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This painting done by Gigi Podolak. This painting done by Gigi Podolak.
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This painting done by Gigi Podolak. This painting done by Gigi Podolak.
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This painting done by Gigi Podolak. This painting done by Gigi Podolak.
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This painting done by Gigi Podolak. This painting done by Gigi Podolak.
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There is also a "BZ" sticker at the lower inside bar at Base Camp Bar and Grill.  See the 3 photos below which were taken by the author on March 3, 2012.

Click on images to enlarge.

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The photos in this photo section were contributed by Kaitlyn Schappert, who was Brandon's girlfriend. 

Click on images to enlarge.

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The BZ hut was featured in the 2012-13 Aspen Times magazine publication, "Winter in Aspen" in an article by David Wood, "The Shrines: Unique, Mystical, and Hidden" starting on page 21.  Click this link and advance to page 18:  http://issuu.com/theaspentimes/docs/winterinaspen.  Photos of the front cover of this magazine, and the article, are below.  Click on the images to enlarge.

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The photos in this photo section were taken in January 2013.  

Click on images to enlarge.

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"A Day to Remember and Ski Together"
 
A big thank you to Kaitlyn Morgan Schappert for organizing the celebration of life for Brandon Zukoff and Andre Hartlief, and the fundraising effort for Mountain Rescue on Snowmass on February 22, 2013, the two-year anniversary of the death of Brandon Zukoff.  The photos in this section were taken that day by the author.  
 
 
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Below is the article about the Brandon Zukoff Shrine that was written by David Wood and which appeared in the Snowmass Sun newspaper on April 18, 2012.  http://www.snowmasssun.com/article/20120418/FEATURES/120429985&parentprofile=1039.

The Brandon Zukoff Shrine on Snowmass

SNOWMASS VILLAGE — Brandon Zukoff was killed, at the age of 26, in an avalanche on Feb. 22, 2011. It happened while he was skiing with two friends in Sand's Chute, which is located off the edge of Sneaky's run in the Big Burn area of Snowmass, and which descends a steep and rocky slope to the East Snowmass Creek valley. All three men carried beacons, probes and shovels and began their run between 2:30 and 3:15 p.m. that day. Zukoff was the second of the three to descend the steep terrain, and he triggered the avalanche that swept him 1,000 vertical feet nearly to the bottom of the chute. The other two located him within five minutes of the slide and dug him out, but he showed no signs of life.

Officials distributed to the public a “mission statement” that Zukoff had written inside a personal photo album. This was done with the family's blessing as a way of showing the type of person Zukoff was, officials said. The mission statement reads as follows:

“As I roam the earth as a free-spirited ski bum, I want to be known as a fun-loving thrill seeker who loves nothing more in life than homemade chocolate chip cookies and a big glass of skim milk. I want to be looked at as a loyal grandson, son, brother, friend and teammate while maintaining the freedom to do things on the spur of the moment. I'm a Christian who believes all things happen for a reason, and good things happen to good people. After my days wandering this place we call earth are over, I want to be looked at and remembered as a caring man who would do just about anything for anyone. I want people to also remember me as random, intelligent, honest trustworthy, and last but not least a risk taker who loves the outdoors and skis like there's no tomorrow."

The Brandon Zukoff Shrine is located near the Big Burn area at Snowmass. It contains a carved wooden sign that says “BZ Hut,” and there are also numerous laminated photos of Zukoff, a copy of a newspaper article about his death, a large copy of the mission statement that is framed and under glass, and a snowboard bench. On the bench is a black and white oval “BZ” sticker, and this is printed on the top of the board: “Peace Love and Powder.” There are prayer flags draped around the shrine.

David Wood (AspenShrines@aol.com) 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.

 
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Finally, for more photos and other materials pertaining to this shrine, see this Facebook photo album (you do not need a Facebook account to view this album):  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.427933343945302.98299.100001859201674&type=1&l=cd1265e801
Sanctuaries in the Snow
The Shrines of Aspen/Snowmass
(Including plaques, memorials, displays And miscellaneous items)

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