Thanks from the Gaylords |

Thanks from the Gaylords

Dear Editor:

This is a letter of thanks to all those who participated in and contributed to the success of the Rapid Relief festivities on Sunday, June 18, a fund raising event for my son, Charlie Gaylord, who was injured in March while skiing at Jackson Hole.

A special thanks to the Blazing Adventures crew and Bob and Laurie Harris for making it all happen, to Stacey Forester and his staff at Taster’s Pizza, and to all those who donated their time and effort to make it a success. Your support means so much to me and the rest of the Gaylord family and Jamie Britt.

I’d like also to publish remarks I made at the party at Taster’s in Snowmass to communicate my appreciation. I thought about what I might say and stopped to get some paper to write down my thoughts, which I did at the top of Independence Pass, as the last rays of the day faded from the surrounding peaks.

Charlie has always loved Aspen.

He has rafted and kayaked her rivers; he has biked her trails and roads; he has fished her streams; he has hiked her passes.

He has skied down couloirs so steep and difficult that watching him you couldn’t help but say: “I didn’t know you could do that!”

He always tried to ski with technical precision and excitement. And he often succeeded. But not always.

It is now almost three months since his accident. He has been to the abyss and back. But not all the way back.

Physically he is well healed but his brain injury will take longer to heal, as long as two years and even then he may not regain all his old powers. He remains confused largely due to his short-term memory, which is spotty at best. This makes it difficult for him to understand what is really going on which can be heartbreaking to watch.

But he is improving each day, with greater powers of concentration, increasing skills and more awareness.

The doctors continue to be optimistic and project that we will be able to take him to our new home in Boulder at the end of July where he will continue rehab and the steady climb out of the abyss.

Charlie has been transformed by his accident; we all have been in some way. He will never be quite the same.

Driving here last night I realized that Charlie will never look at these mountains in quite the same way again. But I know that he will love them still.

There are so many different reasons to love Aspen. Many of the most important reasons are here with me today.

It is our importance and connection to one another that matters most, that eclipses even the beauty of these magnificent mountains. It is our care and concern for our community that grounds us, that makes us real. It is love.

Charlie will always love Aspen.

Again, thank you all.

Ritter Gaylord

Old Forge, N.Y.

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