Top 5 most-read stories: St. Benedict’s Monastery closing; Highlands, Snowmass closing day festivities photos |

Top 5 most-read stories: St. Benedict’s Monastery closing; Highlands, Snowmass closing day festivities photos

Staff report
Father Joseph Boyle, who was taking over the running of St. Benedict's Monastery.
Aspen Historical Society, Aspen Times Collection/Courtesy photo

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

1.) St. Benedict’s Monastery in Old Snowmass signals it will close; process to begin this summer

After 66 years, the St Benedict’s Monastery in Old Snowmass will begin closing this summer, according to a message on its website.

An interview request via email received an automated response from an inactive email, which referred to the website with the following note: “Please know that, at this stage, there are many questions we are not yet able to answer. We thank you for your understanding and support during this time of transition. St. Benedict’s.”

Sarah Girgis

2.) Photos: Closing day festivities reach Highlands, Snowmass Ski Area as season winds down

April 15 and 16 saw the last official laps of the season for both Aspen Highlands and Snowmass Ski Area. On Saturday, Elk Camp hosted a pond skimming contest and party to cap off the winter in Snowmass, while Sunday saw the return of the notorious closing day party at Highlands, hosted by the Highlands Alehouse.

Austin Colbert

3.) Bleiler: Life in ‘the middle zone’ and opening up about athletes’ mental health 

Gretchen Bleiler, Olympian and Aspen snowboard superstar, was dominating her sport, winning pop culture and icon awards, and racking up thousands of miles crisscrossing the globe.

She also was racking up concussions, at first few and far between, but then four back to back in 2012 that began to change everything. She retired in 2014, still struggling to recover from a training accident in 2012 in Park City that shattered an eye socket, broke her nose and, yep, in which she suffered a serious concussion.

Julie Bielenberg

4.) Basalt family starts memorial fund with AspenOUT to help LGBTQ+ youth struggling with mental illness

On April 2, Jack Raife of Aspen died by suicide. He was 18 years old.

He’s remembered by his family as someone who went about life with an unapologetic sparkle. He was born in Aspen and raised by two loving parents in Basalt. His sister, Makena, 21, described him as her best friend.

On Saturday, Jack’s family held a memorial service honoring his life and their love for him. Family and friends gathered at Aspen Glen to celebrate his life, releasing (biodegradable) balloons in his honor after a service celebrating his life.

Josie Taris and Kristen Mohammadi

5.) Spring days mean the bears are coming out again

What Aspenites need to know about black bears in one of Colorado’s most densely-populated habitats: They’re back, beginning to emerge from their dens and shaking off some extra snow this year. 

How many? Hard to count officially. But incident reports of human-bear encounters are greater here than most areas.

“For us, I think the bigger title is this area continues to see the most bear-human conflict the past few years,” said Rachael Gonzales, a public information officer for the northwest region of Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Julie Bielenberg