Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Kessler, Snyder & Soddy Plaque in the MGR (Aspen Highlands)

This is from Wikipedia (as of June 2019):  "On March 31, 1984, ski patrolmen Chris Kessler, Tom Snyder, and Craig Soddy were completing avalanche control work in Highland Bowl. The three set off explosive charges near the top of the Bowl. Their bombs yielded no sign of danger and they continued to do explosive work. Their second explosion triggered a slide and before the three could escape an avalanche fell from above them. All three died. A monument in their memory has been erected near the top of the Loge Peak lift above the ski runs named in their honor (Kessler's Bowl, Snyder's Ridge, and Soddbuster)."  See   Also see this page for related information:

For a more in-depth story of the avalanche see this article by Tim Cooney in the March 31, 2018 issue of the Aspen Daily News, "Taming the snow beast."  

Mounted on the wall inside the Merry-Go-Round restaurant on Aspen Highlands there used to be a brass plaque attached to a cross-shaped piece of light-colored wood.  That brass plaque read as follows:

In Memory of
Chris Kessler--Tom Snyder--Craig Soddy

When the Merry-Go-Round opened in November 2011, after undergoing an interior remodel, this plaque had been removed, and replaced by another plaque mounted on a piece of dark-colored wood.  Also, framed photos of the three men had been added.

The plaque on the dark-colored piece of wood reads as follows:

In memory of Tom Snyder, Chris Kessler and Craig Soddy who lost their lives March 31, 1984 on Highlands Bowl.  May their memory, courage and work they did, live on at Aspen Highlands.  With appreciation to the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol for all the Love and Support given to the family and friends of Tom, Chris and Craig.  A Friend

Photos of both plaques and the framed photos are below.

If you have any photos of or information about this item that you would like to share, please send to [email protected].

(There is also another memorial dedicated to these three men at Aspen Highlands; see this page on this site:

(There is also a plaque dedicated to these three men mounted on the wall inside Bonnie's on Aspen Mountain.  See this page on this site:


Click on images to enlarge.