They are all Robinson’s runs
Those of us who worked at Highlands for many years mourn the early passing of Don Robinson.
In later years, while working under him, I would refer to him as the quiet genius who kept Aspen Highlands working with very limited resources. The papers would jokingly refer to Highlands as held together with duct tape and baling wire, yet it was the genius of Don and how he used his resources that kept this mountain hanging in there for years.
Don was my friend and my mentor in the ski industry. Whatever I came to know about being in the ski business, I learned from him. He was a master mechanic and the best snow groomer I ever saw. And he was the real reason that Aspen Highlands continued to be a viable resource.
When Gerald Hines bought Highlands, he knew that the infrastructure needed upgrading, but he also knew that the purchase came with some very talented people like Don, who would add to the upgrade with their knowledge of the mountain.
Until his death, I did not know that he came from a sheep-ranching background, which would explain his persistence with the problems at hand. I believe it was Don who convinced Whip Jones that snowmaking was the wave of the future, and so they bought the first gun of this town.
When we hit the no-snow winter of 1976-77, it was Don that organized a fleet of pickups to bring people down from the old quarter-way station on Nugget trail. All trails on the mountain have the imprint of Don Robinson, who planned where they would go with others, like Dick Durrance and Fred Iselin. And Don, thanks to you, they ski very well indeed.
My condolences go to the family of Don Robinson. My remembrances of him shall continue, as it was Don who made Highlands the skiing maverick that it still is.
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