Aspen icon ‘Benny the Blade’ found off bike path, hospitalized | AspenTimes.com

Aspen icon ‘Benny the Blade’ found off bike path, hospitalized

Benjamin Newell was airlifted to Denver hospital, reported in good condition Saturday

Benny the Blade — a longtime, iconic Aspen local — was in good condition in a Denver hospital Saturday after he was found the day before suffering from exposure to the cold, sources said.

Emergency dispatchers received a call at about 11 a.m. Friday from someone reporting a man lying in the snow between the Roaring Fork River and the bike path near Crystal Lake Road on Aspen's east side, Aspen police Sgt. Terry Leitch said Saturday.

When police officers responded, they discovered the man was suffering from "some stage of hypothermia," Leitch said. The man was conscious and talking, though officers could not understand him, he said.

An ambulance took him to Aspen Valley Hospital, Leitch said. He was later flown to Denver.

Citing federal health law, Leitch declined to release the man's name because it was a medical call.

Several sources, however, confirmed the man was Benny the Blade, known for Rollerblading around town in the summer and skiing in the winter while nearly always rocking cut-off shorts, sunglasses and long blonde hair.

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Benny — whose real name is Benjamin Newell — was listed in good condition Saturday at UC Health-University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, hospital spokesperson Paula Freund said.

Aspen police Sgt. Rob Fabrocini, who was working Friday, said the man found near the bike path appeared to have been outside for quite awhile.

"It looked like he'd been out there overnight," he said. "I heard it was pretty serious. He was in bad shape."

Online records indicate Benny, 56, lives in the area where he was found.

There is a Facebook fan page dedicated to Benny the Blade and it has nearly 1,000 followers. Fans have posted pictures of Benny through the years. There also is a YouTube video of Benny Rollerblading through Aspen.

jauslander@aspentimes.com