Mooney’s madness is over
March 13, 2002
Veteran ski instructor Tim Mooney pleaded guilty Tuesday to cutting an illegal ski run on Aspen Mountain, and promised to “enrich his community.”
Mooney, with the help of Texas-based attorney Gerry Goldstein, pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a Class 2 misdemeanor, before Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely. Mooney was arrested last November for chopping down a cluster of 15-20 trees to create a rudimentary ski run on Aspen Mountain.
The run, located in the tree island between the Aztec and Ruthie’s runs, also cost Mooney his job of 23 years. Aspen Skiing Co. officials let Mooney go, stating that because he did not seek company permission before cutting a new ski run, he could no longer conduct private ski lessons for the Skico.
Deputy District Attorney Lawson Wills began arraignment proceedings Tuesday by announcing that Mooney had accepted responsibility for the chopping incident, even though he was not the only resident swinging an axe.
“We do know that people other than Mr. Mooney were involved in that,” Wills said. “Today we’ll close the book on what has been a long road for Mr. Mooney.”
Goldstein called Mooney’s charge “a minor intrusion,” one Wills and Fernandez-Ely seemed to agree with. Mooney was handed a deferred sentence, giving him six months to finish 24 hours of useful public service as well as handle restitution for the felled trees.
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Wills told the judge that the Skico had “graciously waived any claim of restitution” in the case, and instead asked that the $1,000 in compensation be given to a nonprofit organization of Mooney’s choice. Mooney cut a check to the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club, a local organization that he has been actively involved with during his many years in Aspen.
Goldstein called the donation a way Mooney could “enrich his community.” The attorney also said that Mooney’s public service would most likely be served with the Independence Pass Foundation, which is responsible for restoration and revegetation projects along the upper reaches of the pass.
Fernandez-Ely wished Mooney well before dismissing him for the day.
“I’m sorry for all your troubles,” she said. “I hope everybody learned something from it.”