High Points : The Aspen Hall of Fame | AspenTimes.com

High Points : The Aspen Hall of Fame

Paul E. Anna
High Points
The Aspen Times

I don’t care if it’s the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York , the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, Michigan, or the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in Winnemucca, Nevada. If you are selected by your peers to be recognized for your earthly efforts as a Hall of Famer, you did pretty darn good.

I bring this up because we are nearing the annual Aspen Hall of Fame Banquet, which will take place on Saturday, April 15, in the Hotel Jerome ballroom. It is one of the most rewarding of this town’s spring events, and as always, there will be a packed house for the dinner and the induction hosted by the master of masters of ceremonies and noted raconteur R.J. Gallagher.

This year will see four Aspen legends inducted, with conservationists and environmentalists Tom and Jody Cardamone being joined by noted volunteer Georgia Herrick Hanson and the late musician Walt Smith. The class of 2023 is deserving and representative of the community’s devotion to this place, our love of giving to others, and our passion for the good life.

The Aspen Hall of Fame saw its first class of honorees inducted back in January 1987 and fittingly included the founding figures of modernday Aspen. Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke were joined by ski innovators Friedl Pfeifer and Andre Roch, along with Herbert Bayer. The Aspen Hall of Fame began in 1985 as an idea in conjunction with the planned celebration of the Aspen Skiing Co.’s 40th year of skiing. The concept was to honor pioneers “who dedicated their lives to the development of skiing and the betterment of our community.”

Now, 36 years on, the banquet and the naming of an annual new class has become a tradition that allows all of us to honor and thank those who have made significant contributions to Aspen, the Roaring Fork Valley, and the broader world.

Going to aspenhalloffame.org and reviewing the photos and bios of those who have been named to the Hall is a remarkable experience. It is a great way to learn about the foundations of Aspen’s past and present and to remember those people who helped make our town what it is today.

But the real treasures on the website are the video biographies that have been produced over the years to profile many of the  inductees. Greg Poschman – yes, the Pitkin County commissioner and three-time Emmy-winning videographer and filmmaker – created dozens of short video stories for the Hall of Fame banquets over the years and, as a result, may have the best knowledge of Aspen history of anyone in this Valley.  

Using live interviews, historical photographs, and materials from the Aspen Historical Society, he created entertaining and informative videos about Aspen pioneers like DRC Brown Jr. and DRC Brown Sr. Yes, both are in the Aspen Hall of Fame. One could spend an afternoon online (I actually have) virtually skiing the local mountains through the years with the likes of Billy Flynn, Gretl Uhl, Klaus Obermeyer, and Bob Beattie.

Most of these videos offer a glimpse of the life and the times of the Aspen Hall of Famers but, even more broadly, visual imagery that shows off the changes in our town and the valley. Check out the features on Aspen Times late legends Bil Dunaway and Mary Eshbaugh Hayes, as well as living legend Tony Vagneur. Many of these can be found on YouTube as well.

Congratulations to the 2023 class of Aspen Hall of Famers. You done good.