The "Wacky Jack" Plaques (Snowmass)
There are "Wacky Jack" brass plaques attached to various trees on snowmass. I have found 7 of them on these runs: Gunner's View, Whispering Jesse, Tom's Trace, Slot, Upper Ladder/Adios Ridge, Powerline Glades, and Showcase. The plaques are identical and read as follows:
"Wacky Jack Skied Here"
The author thanks BF of Western Colorado for supplying this information:
"Wacky Jack" was John Peter Bedford Jr., known to his friends and family as "Jack." He died in Wesminister, CO, on Monday, August 7, 2000, at Park Forest Care Center, his home for the prior eight years. Jack was born in Arlington, VA, on December 2, 1950 and was a graduate of the Aspen High School, class of 1969. Jack lettered in football, baseball and skiing at AHS. He was the son of Pete and Carol Bedford, who ran the Mountain Chalet in Snowmass from 1969-1987.
Jack worked for the Snowmass Ski Area as a ski instructor in the late 1960's, and was known as "Little Stein," for his skiing style similar to that of Stein Eriksen, who headed up the ski school at the time. In 1971, Jack fell while skiing under Snowmass' Campground lift and received a severe head injury that caused partial paralysis and a memory loss of about ten years.
In 1972, Jack moved to Telluride where he was employed in a variety of jobs, including that of ski instructor for the Telluride Ski Area. As this was in the early days of Telluride as an emerging resort community, Jack fit in well with the variety of colorful characters (Sully, Road Hog, Jimmy Ray, Dicky Thompson, Brother Al, Tony Hebron, Tom John Brown, etc.) who inhabited the small mountain town as it made its transition from one hundred years of mining to a booming resort community.
Jack was known for his quick smile, easygoing manner, laugh and occasional bizarre behavior that sometimes seemed just right for Telluride's early skiing days. He often lived up to his nickname, "Wacky Jack." As the town grew, Jack was left behind as Telluride changed from a tiny town where everyone knew each other and tolerance abounded to its future of glitz and factionalism.
Jack was a superb athlete and a warm and friendly young man who was cut down by a life changing injury when he was a kid. In the end, his heart gave out. Jack's ashes were scattered on a run called Happy Thought off Telluride's lift 6. (There are a few other shrines on the mountain.)
Jack was survived by his brothers, Jim and Bo Bedford, of Telluride, and his sister, Michelle Foley, of Colorado Springs. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made in Jack's name to the American Heart Foundation.
There are some 400 of these "Wacky Jack" plaques spread around where Jack skied, walked and wanted to. They started appearing sometime around 2002.
See this article in the Snowmass Sun of January 25, 2012, "The Pete Bedford Cross, ‘Wacky Jack' plaques well known" by David Wood. http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20120124/NEWS/120129988. (The full article is set out below at the bottom of this page.)
Pete and Carol Bedford were Wacky Jack's parents; see this page which covers their memorial crosses: http://www.aspensnowmassshrines.com/index.php?The-Pete-Bedford-Cross-Snowmass.
Photos of the plaques are below.
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 AspenShrines@aol.com.
Click on images to enlarge.
Below are photos of the Wacky Jack Plaque that is on (lower) Slot, and very near the spot where Jack fell and inured himself. These 6 photos were taken on March 15, 2018.
The Pete Bedford Cross is on a tree near the Whispering Jesse run at Snowmass. The famous blacksmith Francis Whitaker made the cross. The Bedford name is well known in Snowmass Village. Pete and his wife, Carol, ran the Mountain Chalet in Snowmass Village from 1969 to 1987. The Bedford Ballroom in the Snowmass Village Mall is named after the family. In an article in the Snowmass Sun (“Snowmass ski lodges have colorful history”) by Catherine Lutz, the original owner of the Mountain Chalet in Aspen and Snowmass Village, Ralph Melville, is quoted as follows: “We built it in the summer of 1967 and it was ready to go by Christmas. But it was one big construction site. Since we had one in Aspen, we felt we could expand a bit. … Pete Bedford came on in 1968 and he stayed 19 years. (Pete and Carol Bedford are well-known names in the village and to this day received nothing but praise from their former place of employment.)”
The Pete Bedford Cross is on a tree near the Whispering Jesse run at Snowmass. The famous blacksmith Francis Whitaker made the cross. It is made of a dark metal material, and Pete Bedford's name is etched into it. (Whitaker also made a cross for Pete's wife, Carol, and it is near the east fork of Brush Creek and the Snowmass golf course.)
Pete had three sons, John Peter Bedford Jr., Bo Bedford and Jim Bedford, and a daughter, Michelle Foley. Whispering Jesse was one of Pete's favorite runs. According to one of his sons, “Pete Bedford ruled the Big Burn.”
The cross was installed in 2004.
One of Pete's sons, John Peter Bedford Jr., was known as “Jack” and “Wacky Jack.” There are brass plaques attached to trees on the Gunner's View, Whispering Jesse and Showcase runs at Snowmass, all three are identical, and they read as follows: “Wacky Jack Skied Here.”
One of Pete's sons supplied the author with the following information about Jack: He was born in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 2, 1950, and was a graduate of the Aspen High School class of 1969. He died in Westminster on Aug. 7, 2000, at Park Forest Care Center, his home for the prior eight years. He lettered in football, baseball and skiing at Aspen High School. He worked for the Snowmass ski area as a ski instructor in the late 1960s and was known as “Little Stein” for his skiing style, which was similar to that of Stein Eriksen, who headed up the ski school at the time.
In 1971, Jack fell while skiing under Snowmass' Campground lift and received a severe head injury that caused partial paralysis and a memory loss of about 10 years. In 1972, he moved to Telluride, where he was employed in a variety of jobs, including that of ski instructor for the Telluride ski area. Jack was known for his quick smile, easygoing manner, laugh and occasional bizarre behavior that sometimes seemed just right for Telluride's early skiing days. He often lived up to his nickname, “Wacky Jack.” Some of Jack's ashes were scattered on a run called Happy Thought off Telluride's Lift 6. Also, some of his ashes, as well as Pete's ashes, were scattered on the Whispering Jesse run mentioned above, near the place where the Pete Bedford Cross is mounted and also near where there is a “Wacky Jack” plaque attached to a tree.
There are some 400 of these “Wacky Jack” plaques spread around areas where Jack skied and lived. They started appearing sometime around 2002.