Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers

Hotel Jerome awash in blue for the annual Ascendigo Blue Aspen.

Ascendigo Blue Aspen grateful for support

Ascendigo Blue Aspen, the signature fundraising event for Ascendigo Autism Services, has wrapped and we have enormous gratitude for those who helped make our eighth annual the best year ever!

With the iconic Hotel Jerome bathed in blue light, more than 250 guests enjoyed delicious food, curated cocktails, an exciting live auction and a wildly successful Fund-A-Need paddle raise for camp scholarships. The night concluded with a great concert by Joshua Tree, the country’s premier U2 tribute band, and lots of dancing.

Ascendigo Blue Aspen has become one of Aspen’s premier charity events, by raising funds so Ascendigo can provide vital support and services for those living with autism. We are forever grateful to the Roaring Fork Valley, which provides an outstanding environment for providing opportunities for social or athletic activities for those on the spectrum. We also appreciate how this community welcomes and accepts our participants — providing culturally enriching activities, jobs and other support to our clients.

We especially thank Sentient Jet, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse, Olitsky Family Foundation, The Aspen Times, Aspen Magazine, Aspen Eventworks, United Airlines, Aspen Skiing Co., Hotel Jerome, Lugano Diamonds, Piranesi, Pebble Global Holdings, Devlin Financial, Newport Academy, ANB Bank and the many other sponsors, donors, attendees and volunteers who contributed to our success.

Our tireless and energetic host committee also deserves major kudos. Co-chairs Julie Manning and Marla and Larry Butler provide great leadership with incredible support from Laurel Gilbert, Sallie Bernard, Debra Doyle and Liz Bell. Your contributions make such a difference!

We look forward to seeing everyone again next year during this great Presidents Day weekend tradition!

Peter Bell

President and CEO, Ascendigo Autism Services


Skico is amazing

I’ve done full research over many years hiking up Aspen Mountain on early winter mornings. Aspen Skiing Co. has surreptitiously added 500 vertical feet and an extra 4 degrees of pitch to Spar. I’ve verified the data with NOAA, NASA and the Department of Interior. Thank you, Skico, for the amazing capital improvement and providing me more distance and early morning time on our beautiful Aspen Mountain.

Mostly, a thank-you to the always nice Skico staff who work extremely hard to create a great experience on all of our mountains. From the lift operators, cat drivers, ski patrol, ski instructors, ambassadors, restaurant workers and more, each interaction with Skico staff is always positive. I want to extend a special thank-you to a sweet woman, Olga, who has worked at the Sundeck for 27 years!

If you are a regular visitor to the Sundeck, you will recognize Olga. She always has a smile and is happy to make our Sundeck experience just a bit brighter. So the next time you see Olga, please take the time to give her a hug and tell her “thank you” for her 27 years of making our skiing days a warmer experience.

Tony Caine


Community prospers with youth hoops

As our basketball season comes to a close with final tournaments being played around the valley, I would like to thank the people who make the Valley Youth Basketball League a true success. Our coaches spend many nights away from family teaching our players, not only the game of basketball, but teamwork and sportsmanship. Our league provides an opportunity for boys and girls to learn how to win graciously and also how to lose with dignity.

I have had great fortune to be able to stand beside these great coaches, some who will be moving on as their child advances into school sports. Sincerest thank you to Susan Mitchell, Katie Fitzgerald, Kari Rowley, Danny Martinez, Garry Pfaffmann, Scott Dorais, Bryan Donnelly, Ashley Soucie, Kim Soucie, Bill Toney, Chris White, Mikey Geiser, David Hays, Bob Daniel, Jeff Bowman, Jeff Gatlin and Chris Lane. I would like to extend a thank-you to my referees — Ryan Garcia, Noah Johnston, Hayden Rowley, Kade Schneider, Lev Illouz, Sean Ryan, Maurine Fitzpatrick and Skip Joannes. Referees are our true heroes of the game. Thank you to the parents who worked out their schedules to make sure kids made it to practices and games, filled in as assistant coaches and cheered on the teams at games. And thank you to the players who make the league a success by learning and playing your hearts out!

Dorothy Howard

Basalt Recreation Department

AVSC remains a community asset

Congratulations to the 2019 Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club Hall of Fame recipients, John Bakken, The Elks Club and the entire Oates family. One of the truly unique and wonderful aspects of Aspen is the 82-year legacy of AVSC. The reason this remarkable club has existed for all these years is because of the spirit and passion brought by volunteers such as this years honorees.

Thank you for allowing AVSC to presently provide over 2,200 kids to experience the mountains in winter, build character, challenge themselves and make new friends.

John Bucksbaum


Feeling the local love

I would like say thank you and express my gratitude to the most incredible, outgoing, empathetic and caring groups of people who make up the communities from Rifle to Aspen (and not to exclude Grand Junction, Maryland and California).

A few weeks ago I was involved in a ski accident at Highlands Ski Resort. From the moment I became immobile, I was looked after by my client, Aspen Skiing Co. ski instructors, Highlands ski patrol and the immediate response staff at Aspen Valley Hospital!

Family and friends and friends of friends started appearing from out of the woodwork! From Facebook messages to organizing meals, dog-walking and even snow-shoveling was offered! Words of encouraging recovery and practical employment advice was immediately started by Skico and Skywest Airlines!

When normal routine started to settle in, I thought to myself, how blessed and fortunate I am to be part of an extended community that states, “Our community cares!” I have witnessed and was the grateful recipient of heartfelt love and kindness! Thank you.️

Katie Reeves

Snowmass Village

Bristlecone Mountain Sports a friend to Buddy Program

The Buddy Program would like to express our gratitude to the team at Bristlecone Mountain Sports for choosing our organization as the beneficiary of the 5Point Film Night on Feb. 23. Thank you to John and Amy Charters, Chip Griffiths, Nancy Cohen and Kelley Mitchell as well as Christina Aalto and Jeff Anderson and the whole team at Bristlecone for their hard work to put the evening together. Thank you also to Regna Jones and Meredith McKee at 5Point Film!

We had a sold-out crowd at the event and are grateful to all the patrons who came out in support of youth in our community!

The generosity of businesses and individuals throughout the entire Roaring Fork Valley community truly makes our work of empowering youth through mentoring experiences to achieve their full potential possible.

Lindsay Lofaro

Executive director, The Buddy Program

Grants keep coming from Thrift Shop

Every month volunteers of the Aspen Thrift Shop meet to continue to accomplish our mission: to make grants to nonprofit organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley. We are grateful to community members who continue to support our efforts by donating and purchasing gently used clothing and household items.

For the month of February, we are pleased to announce the following recipients: Access after School, Aspen Elementary School Plays, Aspen School Bands, Aspen Skating Club, Aspen Music Festival and School, Basalt High School (climbing wall), Bridging Bionics, Roaring Fork Conservancy, Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra and Science in Schools.

The ladies of the Aspen Thrift Shop