Top 5 most read stories: James Hetfield visits Ukrainian soldiers; rafter drowns; ‘Growing up Aspen’

Staff report
Igor Voinyi poses for a picture with legendary Metallica frontman James Hetfield.
Courtesy photo

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

1.) James Hetfield, lead singer of Metallica, visits Ukrainian soldiers in hospital, learns they know his music well

When you’re in the emergency room, any surprise visitor is a welcome sight. But when it’s James Hetfield, lead singer of Metallica, then, really, “Nothing Else Matters,” at least for the moment.

On May 11, Roman Denysiuk, a Ukrainian soldier brought to the Vail Valley for medical treatment through the assistance of locally-founded nonprofit Limbs for Liberty, tripped on ridged carpeting getting out of his wheelchair, landing on his previously broken femur, which had a plate in it. He suffered another fracture, but the silver lining was that his initial fracture wasn’t healing properly, causing issues with fitting his prosthetic. The plate had a broken screw in it, so surgeons removed the plate and screws and replaced it with a rod.

While he was recovering at Vail Health Hospital, Kelli Rohrig, co-founder of Limbs for Liberty, visited him. As she got out of her car, a man walked toward his truck and said, “Good morning.” Turns out it was none other than Hetfield. She immediately explained Denysiuk’s situation and asked him to pay a visit to the soldier.

Kimberly Nicoletti

2.) Rafter drowns in flooding Glenwood Canyon after falling out

A rafter died after falling from his watercraft into the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon on Sunday.

Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire confirmed on Tuesday morning that Nicholas Courtens, 34, of Vail, was pronounced dead at the scene between Shoshone and Grizzly Creek in Glenwood Canyon after he fell from a raft and drowned. 

The White River National Forest and other river recreation officials are urging caution when recreating on the currently runoff-swollen area rivers.

Glassmire said the Glenwood Springs Fire Department and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene at 12:29 p.m. on Sunday.

John Stroud, Glenwood Springs Post Independent

3.) Authors of ‘Growing Up Aspen’ will see if you can go home again; one never left

For Andy Collen, Chris Pomeroy, Dean Jackson, and Lorenzo Semple, Aspen is much more than a playground for the uber rich and famous.

It’s their hometown — where they grew up and which laid the groundwork for the rest of their lives.

Their new book of essays “Growing up Aspen: Adventures of the Unsupervised,” pulls back the curtain on life in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, through their experiences as kids in the late 1970s and ’80s. Before Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton lined the core and corporate-owned, fine-dining restaurants became the nom de jour, these four had had a much different life, though the wealthy were always a part of it.

Sarah Girgis

4.) Fractured relations among transients appear to play role in stabbing at Buttermilk park lot

Did a failed romance lead to a stabbing in Aspen’s Buttermilk ski area parking lot?

Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies are investigating exactly what happened on Monday night when a 911 call reported an assault. Aspen city police offered assistance. Officers and medics found three men on the western side of the lot. One was bleeding. 

The deputy’s report said the assault occurred in unincorporated Pitkin County parking area known as “a favorite for transients to car camp because the ‘no camping’ signs are not enforced by the city of Aspen.”

According to the deputy’s report, one of the uninjured men, Billie Bogard, was handcuffed and voluntarily described the night’s events. Bogard explained he was asleep in his van when someone banging on the door awakened him. He said he was confronted by two “angry and drunken transients” identified as Chris and Guy. The two accused Bogard of forcing a female transient to flee the Buttermilk lot after their relationship failed. Bogard said Guy beat him up, and the duo was pushing and “smothering” him and knocked him on his back multiple times. When the fight spilled inside his van, Bogard said he grabbed his knife and warned the men he would use it to defend himself. In the ensuing melee, Chris was cut.

Lynda Edwards

5.) Run it back: Aspen Mountain to host men’s World Cup tech races in March 2024

Practice makes perfect, and Aspen Skiing Co. is excited to take what it learned from this past March’s World Cup races on Aspen Mountain into yet another weekend of elite skiing.

In social media posts by the International Ski Federation (FIS) on Thursday, it was revealed that World Cup ski racing will come back to Aspen for a second straight season, this time for men’s tech races on March 2-3, 2024.

Prior to this past winter’s World Cup races — men’s speed events — Aspen had not hosted that level of ski racing since the 2017 World Cup Finals.

“Honestly, we felt the pain of taking six years off by trying to spin this thing back up with very short notice,” said longtime Skico executive John Rigney, who pulls many of the strings behind the scenes to get the major skiing and snowboarding events to Aspen. “Even though this year is pretty short notice to officially get the word that we are on, the momentum we have from doing it this past March will pay dividends going forward.”

Austin Colbert


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