Aspen Wintersköl queen, king to be crowned
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The queen and king of Wintersköl 2011 will be crowned Thursday at an Aspen Chamber Resort Association luncheon at the St. Regis Aspen Resort.
Marie Munday, an officer with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and co-founder of Club Rotario Roaring Fork, the valley’s only Hispanic Rotary Club, will reign as this year’s queen.
Sam Ferguson, an accountant, disabled athlete and active volunteer with numerous groups, including Challenge Aspen, will serve as king.
Munday and Ferguson “are indicative of the things we like about Aspen,” said Greg Fitzsimmons, ACRA communications coordinator. “They are out there for other people as much as they are for the things that make them tick.”
The event, which will include recognition of Business of the Year winners, was sold out as of midday Wednesday.
A Wintersköl committee chooses a queen and king annually with an eye for people in the community who have made a lasting mark over the past year, Fitzsimmons said.
Munday is the Latino-Anglo liaison for the sheriff’s department. She also logs time as an investigator and a public information officer. She has worked for the sheriff’s office for 10 years; she spent five years with Aspen Police Department before that.
In March 2008, she was instrumental in resolving a nine-hour standoff between a suicidal man and police at the Alpina Haus apartments.
Police believed the man had a gun, but no weapon was found. The situation was peacefully resolved.
“I had the training for hostage and standoff negotiations, but I had never done that before,” Munday said. “I needed him to trust me, and it worked.”
The deputy is currently on medical leave because of a heart ailment. In February, she will travel to The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for tests to learn if the medications she takes are working.
Munday said it’s an honor to be crowned queen of Wintersköl this year.
“I’m thrilled,” she said Wednesday. “It’s really nice. I’m exhausted today but I know it will be exciting.”
Ferguson called it “heartwarming” to be recognized as Wintersköl king.
“After a number of years of local businesses supporting my skiing and volunteer efforts, this is also quite an honor,” he said.
Ferguson is active in a number of local volunteer programs, including Aspen Valley Hospital’s Think First! initiative, which educates youths about head and spinal cord injuries; and Challenge Aspen, which offers recreational, cultural and educational experiences for people with disabilities.
He’s a former board member of the Aspen Young Professionals Association. He also is an Elks Lodge member, and as such, volunteers for a variety of causes.
Ferguson was paralyzed from the waist down from a mountain biking accident in 1995. The following year he became a mono-skier. In 2003 he skied Highland Bowl, an accomplishment that was featured in the 2004 Warren Miller movie, “Journey.” He competed in the Winter X Games halfpipe competition in 2007 and earned a silver medal at the 2009 X Games in the mono-skier finals.
Ferguson said the minutes following his accident were a turning point in his life. “As I was laying there it was time to decide what I wanted to do,” he said. “Did I want to live or did I want to die?”
It wasn’t long before he was skiing again. “It gave me back my self-esteem. It gave me confidence. It gave me hope again,” Ferguson said.
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