Top 5 most-read stories: Skier dies after crash at Snowmass; suspect arrested in Old Snowmass |

Top 5 most-read stories: Skier dies after crash at Snowmass; suspect arrested in Old Snowmass

Staff report The Aspen Times

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

1.) Skier dies after terrain park crash at Snowmass

A 27-year-old man died after a ski crash in the Makaha Terrain Park at Snowmass Ski Area on Thursday, according to Aspen Skiing Co.

The Pitkin County Coroner’s Office, in a statement issued Thursday night, identified the deceased as Tyler James Updegraff of Silverthorne, Colorado. He had been program director at Summit County Public Health Department since June 22, according to his professional profile on LinkedIn. He was from Pennsylvania and a 2018 graduate of Drake University, where he played football, according to LinkedIn. 

Updegraff was wearing a helmet and skiing with others at the time of the crash, which happened in in the landing zone of the park’s first jump, Skico said.

Staff Report

2.) Backbone Media: Small town agency with big reach

In a small building on the corner of 4th Street and Colorado Avenue in Carbondale, employees of Backbone Media are hard at work representing brands they believe in as they head into their 25th year. 

Some work standing, others in soundproof “Zoom tubes,” and some are just getting in after a morning of skiing. The office is filled with puppies wandering around, looking to be pet. The buzz throughout the building suggests the staff is working hard to represent their outdoor brands. 

According to Backbone President Greg Williams, their personality as an agency is a “mountain guide.”

Audrey Ryan

3.) Suspect arrested in Old Snowmass for alleged threats against Summit County school officials

Charles Draughn, 26, was taken into custody at an Old Snowmass residence Wednesday morning after allegedly making threats online to Summit County school district officials. Schools throughout the Roaring Fork Valley went on “secure” status earlier in the morning until the arrest. 

He was arrested at 10 a.m. on suspicion of felony menacing, misdemeanor menacing, and interference with staff/faculty, students of educational students, according to a press release from the 5th Judicial District, where Summit County is located. 

On Tuesday, he posted comments on Summit Daily News’ Instagram account that threatened teachers and school district staff, including Summit County Schools Superintendent Tony Byrd, the press release states.

Audrey Ryan

4.) Skiing sensation Gu returns to X Games two years after it launched her skyward

Pinpointing exactly when Eileen Gu rose to superstardom isn’t too tricky. It came two years ago in her X Games Aspen debut, when the then 17-year-old made history by winning three medals — including two gold — in the span of about 24 hours at Buttermilk.

“That X Games definitely was a turning point for me,” she said Monday from Aspen in a special media session hosted by one of her sponsors, IWC, which makes high-end watches. “I was terrified. All these people are my idols. I’ve been watching them forever. All of a sudden, I’m invited to the biggest event with all of my idols. So definitely a part of me didn’t yet feel like I belonged, and I think after that showing, it built a lot of confidence, and it made me feel that, OK, I do belong in this industry, and I can do big things here, and I deserve to be here.”

In the two years since, the freeskier from San Francisco has proven over and over that she not only belongs, but is also now the present and future of the sport. In her Winter Olympic debut this past February in China, she also went three for three in medals, including gold in both big air and halfpipe.

Austin Colbert

5.) Aspen-based company announces new biodegradable fire-resistant foam

In Colorado, we know all too well the devastating impacts of wildfires. The loss of community, loss of loved ones, loss of homes, and more brought on by fires is a traumatic experience far too many Coloradans, and many in the West, have went through in recent years. 

While the United Nations Environment Programme predicts wildfires, among other natural disasters, will become more frequent and intense in the coming years, an Aspen-based company, AspenGlo, has helped develop a product they say with revolutionize wildfire mitigation and protection.  

AspenGlo, in partnership with Multi-Inc., developed a new biodegradable fire-resistant foam that recently received federal patenting. The foam is meant to be used as a protective measure, keeping homes and other structures safe from fire damage, according to a Kent Oliver, chief executive officer of AspenGlo.

Kristen Mohammadi