Avalanche victim was longtime Aspen resident Marty Gancsos
The Aspen Times
Longtime Aspen resident John Martin “Marty” Gancsos has been identified as the skier killed during an out-of-bounds avalanche on the west side of Aspen Mountain on Monday, family and friends confirmed Tuesday.
Gancsos, 64, was skiing out-of-bounds with another person Monday just below the upper terminal of Ruthie’s Lift on Aspen Mountain (see related story below for details on the location of the avalanche). His skiing partner, who has not been identified, was unhurt and reported the accident to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office shortly before 3 p.m. A five-member Mountain Rescue Aspen crew reached Gancsos’ body around 6:40 a.m. Tuesday and transported it to Aspen Valley Hospital.
The victim’s brother, Tom Gancsos, a resident of Richmond, Virginia, was reached by phone Tuesday and described Marty as a free spirit, “a good man who will be missed by the family.”
“He lived his life the way he wanted to, and his love was Aspen, the mountain and the river,” Tom Gancsos said of Marty Gancsos, who was an avid skier and kayaker. “There’s never a good way for this to happen, but in the end, he loved his skiing, and if he had to die, I guess doing what he loved best was not a bad way for someone to go.”
Marty Gancsos is survived by his partner of 37 years, Marilyn Anderson, who Tom Gancsos described as his companion and best friend.
“They did everything together,” Tom Gancsos said, adding that they went skiing together Monday. “They were the best of friends, not just companions.”
Marty Gancsos worked various jobs during his time in Aspen, including roles at the Steak Pit restaurant and most recently Little Annie’s. He also spent a year and a half working at Clark’s Market, where store manager Tony Welgos regarded him as a “real deal” ski bum.
“He didn’t care about jobs and making money,” Welgos said. “That was his deal — skiing, and, of course, he kayaked.”
Welgos said Marty Gancsos was light on his skis and described his abilities as enviable. Aspen Mountain was his forte, Welgos said, and he loved showing people around the slopes.
“Every joint in his body was a perfect turn,” Welgos said.
Marty Gancsos’ adventurous spirit was not without risk. Welgos recalled an incident three years ago when Marty Gancsos broke both of his legs while skiing Aspen Mountain’s Jackpot run.
In a letter to The Aspen Times dated April 2012, Marty Gancsos thanked the Aspen Mountain ski patrol and emergency responders for assisting him after the crash. He also thanked the many friends who visited him during his more-than-30-day stay at the hospital and recovery center.
Monday’s out-of-bounds run on the west side of Aspen Mountain was not a first for Marty Gancsos. Welgos’ wife Kathy joined Marty Gancsos for turns through the same route about a year and a half ago.
“The comment he made to her was, ‘Kathy you’ve got kids, so I’m going to go first in case something happens,’” Welgos said. “He did, and nothing happened, and she came back just raving about the experience. That’s the kind of guy he was — very adventurous, just an incredible skier.”
A native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Marty Gancsos first came to Aspen with his brother during a ski trip about 40 years ago. Tom Gancsos said his brother fell in love with Aspen and never returned East.
“He was a great skier and a great kayaker. He loved them both. Seasonally, he did them every day,” Tom Gancsos said. “He was a very experienced skier. He loved the deep powder. To him, that was the ultimate.”
Marty Gancsos is preceded in death by his parents John and Barbara Gancsos.
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