Jef Aldrich |

Jef Aldrich

Contributed report
Aspen, CO Colorado

Former Aspen resident and ski patrol director Jef Aldrich died unexpectedly in California on Jan. 31, 2008.

Jef was born in Meriden, Conn., in 1956. His love of skiing and passion for helping others began a career that took him around the world, beginning at Powder Ridge Ski Area in Connecticut in 1972. Jef began by flipping burgers and went on to work in snowmaking, grooming and lift maintenance. In 1974, he went to work manufacturing skis for Olin Ski Co., also in Connecticut.

Jef moved to Vermont in 1976 and was a snowmaker and groomer for Sugarbush Resort. He took a NOLS course that summer. From 1978 to 1981, he was a ski mechanic and hard-goods manager for Inverness Sports in Waitsfield. He took his EMT certification at this time and worked for the local volunteer ambulance squad.

In January 1982 Jef married his life-partner, Nance C. Hall, on skis under a bright full moon in northern Vermont.

Soon after the wedding, they moved to Colorado. Jef worked as a ski mechanic at Keystone for the rest of that season. From 1982 to 1990, he was a professional ski patrolman for both Keystone and Arapahoe Basin resorts.

Jef was a Colorado heli-ski guide during the 1991 to 1993 ski seasons. During the summer of 1993, Jef and family moved to Porter Heights Skifield in New Zealand, where he was the ski patrol director and snow safety officer. Jef also worked at Falls Creek in Australia.

From 1994 to 2001, Jef was the ski patrol director for the Aspen Skiing Co. He left this career to recover from a near-fatal head-on collision.

Jef loved music, poetry, the outdoors, his friends and, most of all, his family. Jef was a cosmic wanderer. He enjoyed the view from out there. It was a big part of who he was, and he incorporated this special perspective into every aspect of his life.

He is survived by his life-partner, Nance C. Hall, and their son, Benjamin Snow Aldrich. He adored them both. Other survivors are his brothers Willie, Mark and David, and a sister, Martha. Those who knew Jef will sorely miss him and his abounding humor.

Celebrations of his life will be held in Colorado at the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain, June 20 at 4 p.m. (contact Cory Brettman, (970) 927-0350 for details); and at Arapahoe Basin, June 24 at 5 p.m. (contact Tim Finnigan, (970) 513-5752). A celebration will be held in Waitsfield, Vt., in July (date and time to be announced). Contact Wendy and Ben Bridgewater, (802) 496-4475, or Gamal Buhaina, (802) 496-6269, for details.