Now that’s service
10th Mountain Division veteran and Carbondale resident Dick McCrudden, 84, brought in these photos (that date to February 1953) of a memorable day when he helped escort a movie star down Aspen mountain.
As McCrudden tells it, actress Lana Turner was in Aspen with her boyfriend, and although she wanted to be on Aspen Mountain watching people carve turns down the slopes, she didn’t know how to ski. Turner requested that the on- mountain staff find a way to take her down the mountain, and so McCrudden, who was on Aspen Ski Patrol in those days, and his colleague Lefty MacDonald, took the movie star down the slopes in a sled. As you can tell in these photos, Turner managed to look glamorous in her sunglasses and cap ( exposing just enough of her trademark platinum curls) while being bundled up against the elements.
McCrudden, who eventually left ski patrol to teach skiing and then come up through the Aspen Skiing Co. ranks until he was the administrative director of all the company’s ski schools, retired in 1990. He has a lifetime ski pass to the local mountains, and still enjoys schussing down the slopes in the winter, and hiking in the summer. Having grown up in New Hampshire, McCrudden eventually came to Camp Hale in Colorado to teach other men who had enlisted in the U. S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division “ski troops” how to ski and rock climb. He first skied in Aspen in 1943, he says.
Incidentally, Aspen Times proofreader Sara Garton tells us that Turner wasn’t the only movie star to be shuttled down Aspen Mountain in a sled. Garton worked at Bonnie’s restaurant during its height of popularity, in the 1980s, and remembers when Elizabeth Taylor came to visit actor/ friend George Hamilton. Although she ( like Turner) didn’t know how to ski, she was keen to have lunch at Bonnie’s on the mountain. As a result, some ski patrollers brought her down the slopes via sled, and she wined and dined at Bonnie’s that afternoon, drawing a crowd of onlookers and admirers.
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