Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Severy Plaques (Aspen Mountain)

Charles “Chuck” Severy, died of cancer in Aspen Colorado on April 14, 1998.  He had a successful career as a petroleum geologist in Denver.  He moved to Aspen in 1987 and became a ski instructor, teaching children at Buttermilk.  He was born in 1951, and his wife is Betty Kasper Severy. 

His son was Christopher Severy, who was an All-American athlete and Rhodes Scholar candidate at the University of Colorado, and who died on October 12, 1998 in a bicycle accident while riding his bicycle down a steep road on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, Colorado.  He was a 1994 graduate of Aspen High School, and was a member of the 1995 U.S. World Cross Country team.  A Denver Post article of October 13, 1998 stated the following: 

"An All-American athlete and a Rhodes Scholar candidate at the University of Colorado died Monday when his bicycle ran off Flagstaff Road in Boulder County and struck a tree.  Investigators think Christopher L. Severy may have picked up too much speed heading downhill about 4.5 miles west of Boulder and lost control of his mountain bike on a curve early Monday.  The impact threw Severy from the bike and down an embankment. His body was discovered later by a Boulder Mountain Parks employee."

Chuck and Christopher’s favorite ski run was Perry’s Prowl on Ajax.

In December 2002 Chuck Severy had a run named after him at Buttermilk:  Uncle Chuck's Glades. 

There are two plaques located on a large rock outcrop near Perry’s Prowl on Aspen Mountain.  There are also Tibetan prayer flags there.  Photos of both plaques are below.  The top plaque on the rock is dedicated to Chuck and Christopher Severy.  It states,

"In Loving Memory of Chuck Severy 1951 - 1998

and Christopher Severy 1976 - 1998

Our Shining Stars CLS."  

The bottom plaque (a darker colored plaque and hard to read) is dedicated to Chuck Severy.  This bottom plaque states,

"In Memory of Chuck Severy 1951 - 1998."

See the article in the Snowmass Sun newspaper of April 4, 2012, "Memorials Dedicated to Todd Olson and Chuck Severy" by David Wood.  This article is set out in full below at the bottom of this page.

These plaques are part of a Facebook photo album that covers various signs and plaques on Aspen Mountain (you do not need to have a Facebook account in order to view the album):

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].

These plaques are covered in the book, "Sanctuaries in the Snow--The Shrines and Memorials of Aspen/Snowmass."  The book may be purchased on this page on this site:



Click on images to enlarge.

The Severy plaques are located high on a large rock outcrop near Perry's Prowl.  Several photos are below.

Click on images to enlarge.


Below is an article that discusses the Severy Plaques that was written by David Wood and which appeared in the Snowmass Sun newspaper.

Memorials dedicated to Todd Olson and Chuck Severy
By David Wood
Snowmass Sun, April 4, 2012

Memorials dedicated to Todd Olson and Chuck Severy
By David Wood
Snowmass Sun, April 4, 2012

SNOWMASS VILLAGE — There are three on-mountain memorials remembering Buttermilk ski instructors Todd Olson and Chuck Severy.

Longtime ski instructor Todd “Toad” Olson passed away in June 2003 at his home in Carbondale at the age of 51, after having endured an arduous five-year battle with leukemia. He is widely heralded as one of the most legendary instructors to have taught at Buttermilk.

For 33 years he worked in the kids' division and was nicknamed “Mr. Toad.” In his memory, a wrought-iron statue of a toad was erected near the entrance to “Toad's Road” on Buttermilk and dedicated on Dec. 20, 2003. The statue was done by local sculptors Jim Snyder and Larry Lefner.

Charles “Chuck” Severy had a successful career as a petroleum geologist in Denver, and then moved to Aspen in 1987, becoming a ski instructor and teaching children at Buttermilk. He died of cancer on April 14, 1998, at the age of 47.

His son, Christopher, died later the same year, on Oct. 12, in an accident while riding his bicycle down a steep road on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. Chuck and Christopher's favorite ski run was Perry's Prowl on Aspen Mountain and there are two plaques dedicated to them, and located on a large rock outcrop near that run. One plaque on the rock is dedicated to both men, and states: “In Loving Memory of Chuck Severy 1951-1998 and Christopher Severy 1976-1998-Our Shining Stars CLS.” The other plaque is dedicated to Chuck Severy alone, and states: “In Memory of Chuck Severy 1951 - 1998.”

There is a joint shrine dedicated to both Todd Olson and Chuck Severy and contained on one large tree at Buttermilk. A sign posted on the tree reads as follows: “This is a memorial in honor of Uncle Chuck and Toad, two kids' ski instructors who died of cancer. Please respect their spirits and do not disturb anything. Thank you.”

The shrine consists of many strings of beads, leis, medals, mementos, a parrot, a ski helmet, one of Todd Olson's ski passes, a poem (“Uncle Chuck”) by Robin Severy, piñata figures, and many other items. This shrine is located near the top of Uncle Chuck Glades (named after Chuck Severy in December 2002) at Buttermilk.

David Wood ([email protected]) 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.