Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Haley Rinaldi Memorial Plaque (Aspen Highlands)

The Haley Rinaldi memorial plaque is attached to a tree on Aspen Highlands. She died in a boating accident on Ruedi Reservoir in July of 2013.  

Here is an obituary for her that appeared in the Aspen Times on July 29, 2013: Haley Michelle Rinaldi 21, of Aspen, Colorado passed away July 27, 2013. Haley was born September 30, 1991 in Aspen to William and Tana Rinaldi. Haley is survived by her parents, sister Elli Rinaldi, brother Dominic Rinaldi, and many cousins and extended family. There will be a private service for family. A public celebration of life ceremony will be determined at a later date. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Haley Rinaldi soccer memorial fund- Alpine Bank 600 E. Hopkins Avenue, Aspen, Colorado cc Mary Ryerson 970-920-4800. “We lost our little Angel Haley, God took her home at an early age and we will miss her dearly.”

The following article by Michael McLaughlin appeared in the July 28, 2013 issue of the Aspen Times

Coroner IDs victim in boating accident. The Eagle County Coroner’s office has identified the 21-year-old woman who died Friday afternoon at Ruedi Reservoir as Haley Rinaldi, of Basalt. Witnesses said a boat was pulling Rinaldi on a float tube behind a boat when the tow rope snapped, and the metal connector struck her in the head. The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. Basalt Fire Department spokesman Matt Avidan said the people on the boat started CPR immediately. Bystanders, including some medical personnel, also rendered aid. The first responders continued to administer CPR but could not revive Rinaldi. According to Avidan, at least two other people, brothers of the victim, were on the boat at the time of the accident. Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis has ruled the manner of death accidental, and the official cause of death will be determined after an autopsy. Rinaldi was a 2010 Aspen High School graduate and played soccer at Waldorf College in Iowa as a freshman and sophomore. She transferred to Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids and played soccer there as a junior. Mount Mercy women’s soccer named her its “Newcomer of the Year” for 2012 after she had five goals and two assists. There are dozens of messages on Facebook about Rinaldi from her friends. One of her teammates at Mount Mercy posted this: “This girl light up a room the minute she walked into it. I will miss her beautiful smile, constant kindness, crazy nights, playing midfield together, lunch dates, & so much more. Play hard up there, baby, score me some goals since I can’t anymore.” Another friend at Mount Mercy posted on Facebook: “You will forever live in my heart and memories!!! I love you so much!!! You changed my life the second I met you and I knew we would be great friends!!! You are in such a beautiful place and will be missed greatly!! RIP Haley and please know that you will forever live in my heart!!”

Note that the above Aspen Times obituary says she died on July 27, but that the above Aspen Times article of July 28 says she died on July 26 and the plaque also says she died on July 26.

"The Crazy Bugs" on the plaque is a reference to a group she was in at Highlands called "Buddy's Bugs" or "The Crazy Bugs." Buddy Burr is an instructor at Highlands; see this web page:

Tana Rinaldi posted this on her Facebook page on March 10, 2015: "Haley has a shrine!!!! I am amazed and fascinated at the legacy Haley Rinaldi left with her friends and family. Even in death her essence lives on in so many. Such kind dedications of her life exist that we are just learning about. Here is a shrine made for her by her childhood friend Abby King dedicated by her ski group in Ridge Runners "The Crazy Bugs" who Haley skied with when she was a young child. Buddy Burr was her ski teacher. Thank you to many for making Highlands Sherwood Forest a special place for us. Aspen Shrines David Wood posted these photos. I have not been yet. I will go,next Saturday and find it!!!!"

Many thanks to Tim Bonner, Elli Marie, and Tana Rinaldi for their help with this page.

To view photos, go to this Facebook photo album (you do not need to have a Facebook account in order to view the album):