SNOWMASS VILLAGE - "As a kid, I just loved watching Westerns. The West fascinated me," A.D. Fuller said when asked why he moved from Boston to Snowmass in 1970. Forty-three years later, he still can't imagine living anywhere else.
"I came right after high school," Fuller said. "I was thinking about moving to New Hampshire to be a ski instructor where I grew up and learned to ski. That had been my secret plan. But a friend who had lived in Aspen in the '50s said if you really want to be an instructor, you've got to go to Aspen."
Arriving here, he applied to Aspen Skiing Co., completed its training program and became an apprentice kids ski instructor in December 1970. Ski school cost $13 a day, and that included a lift ticket. A kids lunch was $1.25. And a bed at one of the small lodges in Aspen cost $50 a month.
"It was hand-to-mouth," Fuller said, "especially in the summer months. It was dead in the '70s. We would walk around the construction sites and get day labor jobs. And I worked at the Sinclair gas station, which was on the corner where Paradise Bakery is today.
"For the first 10 years, I went back home to Martha's Vineyard in the summers until I decided to stay here all year long."
Fuller worked for Skico for 24 years, moving from a ski instructor to patrol. In a 1982 photo of him in the Snowmass Sun, the caption explained, "A.D. now works for the ski area year-round, enjoying patrolling, snowmaking operations, avalanche control, lift operations, grooming, and Burnt Mountain tours in the winter, and working on a trail crew with Tom Marshall."
Fuller worked his last eight years for Skico in administration in purchasing, accounting and finance.
He cut his teeth on property management in 1981 when he heard a fellow ski patroller say he was moving out of the cabin on the Ziegler family property. Fuller applied and managed the property for 27 years until 2008.
"The Ziegler family is like my family, and they always treated my kids so nice," Fuller said. "The property sits on beautiful land on the valley floor overlooking (Snowmass) creek. You look up at Capitol and Daly."
Fuller had the skills for property management.
"It fits my temperament, and it's just my niche," he said.
He expanded his property-management duties at the Zieglers' by forming his own property-management company, Fuller Management.
"I really enjoy working hard for these folks," Fuller said. "I know some construction, whether or not the heating system is working right. I can take care of places. You get a 'thank you' at the end of the day, and it makes it all worth it."
Fuller said that most of his clients mainly want someone watching out for their house. When they return, they want it just like they left it, and they want things to work.
Fuller Management provides a range of property-management services from housekeeping to lawn and plant care, snowplowing and shoveling. Fuller Management works with a variety of contract services to take care of a client's home.
"One of my biggest jobs is being on the phone," Fuller said. "I arrange for a lot of services. Contractors. Window washers. I get into all of my properties at least once a week. And I have some of the nicest people you can meet as customers."
Fuller takes pride in the fact that he is present in Snowmass and can respond immediately to issues or situations at a client's home.
"We're here. You're not going to have to wait until the next day if it's something urgent," he said. "It's the key to my success: answering my phone, responding to problems."
After 43 years in Snowmass, Fuller still likes it.
"The blue skies," he said. "It's just a great place for me. It fits me perfect."
He and his wife, Claire, raised two sons from the Little Red Schoolhouse through Aspen High School. Oldest son Whit is in the U.S. Navy, and younger son Nick is a junior at the University of Colorado.
Fuller is hopeful regarding his business. While some clients cut back during the recession, Fuller has started to see a rebound, and business is beginning to pick up.
"We weathered it," Fuller said. "But now we're picking up properties. We plan to grow the business and be the best we can be."
Steve Alldredge is the former associate editor/reporter for the Snowmass Sun. He now runs a local communications company whose clients include Related Colorado. He can be reached at