Sanctuaries in the Snow

Fort Frog (Old) (Buttermilk)

This is the page for the original Fort Frog that was built in 1991 and burned to the ground in May of 2016.  It is called "Fort Frog (Old)" on this site.  There is a separate page for the new Fort Frog that was built in the summer of 2018 and this is it:  This Fort Frog is called "Fort Frog (New)" on this site.

Fort Frog (Old) was a childrens' center at Buttermilk.  It was a wooden frontier-style fort, with lookout towers, flags, old wagons, a jail, a saloon and a native American teepee village.  It was named for Greg Fortin, a longtime pro who ran the Aspenauts program for many years at Buttermilk.  His nickname was "Frog."  Thanks to Rick Stevens for contributing this information. 

According to Alex Kendrick, Buttermilk Children’s Ski School coordinator, "Fort Frog was built by ski-industry icon Jerry “Bergie” Berg, designed by Jerry “Mad Max” Begly, the amazing kids instructor, and named for Greg “Frog” Fortin, an iconic Buttermilk ski instructor and supervisor."  See Kendrick's May 24, 2016 letter to the editor of the Aspen Times here:

It was destroyed by fire on May 22, 2016; see this May 23, 2016 article by Lauren Glendenning: This was a front page article, and a photo of that front page is below.  The front page photo is by the author.

See this Aspen Times article of May 24, 2016 regarding the cause of the fire, by Lauren Glendenning:  "Aspen Fire Chief:  Fort Frog fire on Buttermilk Mountain appears accidental, human-caused"

Will Fort Frog be rebuilt?  This article contains this quote:  "Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle released the following statement Monday on behalf of Skico: 'Fort Frog was an important part of the Buttermilk experience for many years and for thousands of kids. We are sad to see it gone, and will explore our options for rebuilding in the future.'"

See this May 27, 2016 Aspen Times article, "Citation issued in Fort Frog fire on Buttermilk"

An Aspen Times article of June 10, 2016 notes that charges were brought in connection with the Fort Frog fire.  "Skico employee charged with arson" by Jason Auslander.  Click here to read the article:  A quote from this article:  "Kurt Pedersen of Carbondale was charged with fourth-degree arson, meaning he was reckless with fire, said Pitkin County sheriff’s investigator Bruce Benjamin. Pedersen is the same man who received a citation from the U.S. Forest Service for failing to extinguish a fire, he said." 

A June 10, 2016 Aspen Daily News article by Curtis Wackerle, "Fort Frog fire starter charged with negligence" contains this about the possible rebuilding of Fort Frog:  "As for rebuilding the popular mountain feature, 'we definitely will … but it won't be able to happen this summer,' [Jeff] Hanle wrote."  Here is the link to this article:

This article says Fort Frog will be rebuilt in the summer of 2018:

Many thanks to Anna Lookabill Scott for contributing a copy of an Aspen Times article of December 22, 1998, "Fort Frog to be Rededicated" (see photo below).  This article states that Greg Fortin "began working at Aspen's ski school in 1968.  He was one of 15 chosen from 150 applications to the school."

Greg Fortin died on December 14, 1998 (thanks to Anna Lookabill Scott for this information).

For a panoramic/360 degree photo of Fort Frog, click this link:

See the first 6 photos of it below that were taken by the author in March of 2008.

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 [email protected].


Click on images to enlarge.


Photo credit for the two photos below of Fort Frog when it burned in May 2016:  Sandy Schift/Aspen Volunteer Fire Department.  (Click on images to enlarge.)


These 6 Fort Frog photos contributed by Chris Corrigan.

This sign was erected at the place where the original (old) Fort Frog used to be; these three photos were taken in March 2017.

Sanctuaries in the Snow

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  • David C. Wood
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