Top 5 most-read stories: Churches double down on accepting LGBTQ+ community; skier collision prompts legal battle |

Top 5 most-read stories: Churches double down on accepting LGBTQ+ community; skier collision prompts legal battle

Staff Report

We’ve rounded up the top five most-read stories on from last week.

1.) Roaring Fork Valley Methodist churches double down on affirming the LGBTQ+ community

The United Methodist Church’s first openly-lesbian bishop, Karen Oliveto, came to speak at Aspen Chapel on Sunday to kick off Gay Ski Week, which made for a small yet seismic ripple in a wider theological paradigm within the United Methodist Church.

In recent years, churches in the United Methodist denomination have been leaving in droves due to an ideological schism that was in part catalyzed by differing views on same-sex unions and the acceptance LGBTQ+ clergy, according to United Methodist News.

By 2022, it was reported that 2,003 churches in the United States had officially left the organization. In Texas alone, more than 400 churches had left the organization — a “max exodus” consistent with other Southern states, including Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, according to Politico.

Kristen Mohammadi

2.) Evidence of Cloud Nine alcohol consumption at center of skier suit over Aspen Highlands collision

A legal battle over the admission of evidence indicating a man drank alcohol before he collided with another skier is playing out in a lawsuit that casts the spotlight on skiing after partying at Cloud Nine Bistro at Aspen Highlands. 

Following 90 minutes of oral arguments among lawyers on Thursday, Pitkin County District Judge Chris Seldin delivered three rulings in Daniel Leahy’s civil lawsuit that alleges Dean Katamanin’s inebriation led to a violent skier collision nearly three years ago. Both men are from Illinois but did not know of each other until after the crash. 

A jury trial is scheduled to run Oct. 9-19. The jury panel would comprise six members and two alternates, according to court documents.

Rick Carroll

3.) Remembering the late Dave Turner, retired lawyer turned ski instructor

An outdoor enthusiast, avid climber, ski buddy, and mountain man are some of the many ways family, friends, and loved ones will remember Buttermilk ski instructor Dave Turner.

“He was a kind person who brought happiness to a lot of people,” said his daughter Stephanie Turner.

Dave, 70, of Basalt, died Jan. 5 after a skiing accident at Aspen Highlands on Jan. 3.

Audrey Ryan

4.) Aspen Skiing Co. rebrands hospitality division

Three years ago, Aspen Skiing Co. introduced its hospitality division, The Little Nell Hotel Group. Today, the group has been rebranded as Aspen Hospitality to reflect the scale and breadth of this growing division, Skico officials said.

The company is expanding The Little Nell and Limelight Hotel brands, which are currently located in mountain-resort communities, into new urban and resort communities. Aspen Hospitality is bolstered by the Aspen Snowmass brand, which brings decades of experience operating in the ski and hospitality industries.

In tandem, Alinio Azevedo has been promoted to chief executive officer of Aspen Hospitality, from his most recent leadership role as managing director and chief operating officer for the company. Azevedo specializes in the development, financing, operation and asset management of the hotels and clubs that make up Aspen Hospitality’s portfolio.

— Staff Report

5.) Aspen Skiing Co. urges Pitkin County commissioners to pursue more employee housing, ban natural gas in new buildings

Denser housing projects for employees and banning natural gas in new buildings highlighted the suggestions Aspen Skiing Co. executives offered Pitkin County commissioners this week during what was Mike Kaplan’s final visit with the board as the company’s CEO and president.

Their advice was solicited by Commissioner Kelly McNicholas Kury, who asked Skico leadership to “tell us where you would like us to prioritize and be bolder on policy matters that align with the goals Aspen Skiing Co. is pursuing, as well.” 

Skico obliged, urging commissioners at Tuesday’s work session to take on “unpopular positions” they said are fundamental to community sustainability and progress and also address climate change. Employee housing topped their list. 

Rick Carroll

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