Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Shrine to Aspen's Skiing Pioneers (Snowmass)

The "Shrine to Aspen's Skiing Pioneers" was on Snowmass.  It first appeared sometime during the 2011-12 ski season, and then was destroyed by someone during the 2014-15 ski season.  It consisted of a laminated sign ("Shrine to Aspen's Skiing Pioneers"), a metal sign ("Aspen's Skiing Pioneers"), and laminated photos of people who were involved, in one way or the other, in the early days of Aspen/Snowmass skiing, including Fred Iselin, Dick Durrance, Stein Eriksen, Klaus Obermeyer, D. R. C. Brown, Don Rayburn, Jim "Sneaky" Snobble, Spider Sabich, Robert Wagner, Fritz Benedict, Lucille Ball, Buddy Hackett, Gary Cooper, Whip Jones, Yvan Tache, Walter Paepcke, Jesse Caparella, Sam Stapleton, Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson, Tom Wenzel, and Robert Redford.  The shrine also contained a 1947 Colorado license plate, some old wooden skis and bamboo poles, and some snow shoes.  Hidden under the snow were two bottles:  One was labeled "Russia" and contained vodka; the other was labeled "Mexico" and contained tequila.

Photos of the shrine are below. 

See an article that appeared in the Snowmass Sun newspaper on February 15, 2012, "Shrines and memorials to Aspen's skiing pioneers," by David Wood.  This article is set out in full below at the bottom of this page.

The skis and snowshoes shown in photos below were stolen from this shrine sometime between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 ski seasons, and this was noted in a December 16, 2013 Aspen Times article, "Roses and Thorns:" "A thorn to whomever felt the need to steal from one of the shrines on Snowmass ski area. Skis and snowshoes were swiped from the shrine that recognizes Aspen’s skiing pioneers. How pathetic is that?"   A $100 reward was offered for the return of the items, to no avail.

For more information on and photos of this Shrine, see this Facebook photo album (a Facebook account is not required in order to view the album):  

For a similar shrine on Aspen Mountain, see the Aspen Ski Hall of Fame Shrine on this site:

If you have any 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.


Below is an article by David Wood about the Shrine to Aspen's Skiing Pioneers that appeared in the Snowmass Sun newspaper.  (Link no longer works.)

Shrines and memorials to Aspen's skiing pioneers

Several of the shrines and memorials on the mountains of Aspen/Snowmass are dedicated to people who were involved in the early years of skiing in Aspen.

There is a statue of Friedl Pfeifer, with a brass plaque below it, in the Gondola plaza at the base of Aspen Mountain. He helped to build Aspen as a ski resort after World War II (where he was a member of the 10th Mountain Division) and was one of the founders of the Aspen Skiing Corporation, the Aspen Ski School, and Buttermilk Mountain.

There used to be a 10th Mountain Division shrine on Aspen Mountain. It is no longer in existence, but on August 2, 1997, there was erected in the Gondola plaza a bronze sculpture and plaque dedicated in perpetual memory of the 992 young men of the 10th Mountain Division who gave their lives in the Aleutian Islands and Italy in 1943-1945, and also 10th Mountain Division veterans who came to Aspen after the War. The monument was donated by Bert Bidwell, longtime Aspen resident and 10th Mountain Division veteran.

Inside the Ullrhof mountain house at Snowmass there used to be a display for the 10th Mountain Division. It is not there anymore, having been removed at the end of the 2006-07 ski season. A sign posted in that display said “Original 10th Mountain Equipment.” One item that was included in the display was a photo of Bert Bidwell.

There is a brass plaque dedicated to Fred Iselin at Aspen Highlands. He was a ski instructor and author, who arrived in Aspen in 1947. The plaque reads as follows: “1914-1971, Fred Iselin, From the mountains, to the mountains”.

The “Shrine to Aspen's Skiing Pioneers” is located in the Elk Camp area on Snowmass. It consists of a laminated sign, and laminated photos of some of the early pioneers of Aspen skiing, such as Fred Iselin, Dick Durrance, Stein Eriksen, Klaus Obermeyer, and others.

There is a shrine on Aspen Mountain called the “Aspen Ski Hall of Fame Shrine,” which remembers many of those involved in the early ski history of Aspen with photos of each: Bob Beattie, Fritz Benedict, D.R.C. Brown, Dick Durrance, Stein Eriksen, Fred Iselin, Whip Jones, Steve Knowlton, Johnny Litchfield, Klaus Obermeyer, Walter Paepcke, Friedl Pfeifer, Andre Roch, Pete Seibert, and the 10th Mountain Division.

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.

Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Shrines of Aspen/Snowmass (Including Plaques, Memorials, Displays and miscellaneous items) All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission from the author. For any such permission contact [email protected]

  • David C. Wood
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