Peter Birrfelder passed away unexpectedly on May 5, 2019. He was born in Anwil Switzerland on September 22, 1937. He was a Swiss apprenticed chef during his youth. He worked in various fine dining restaurants in Davos, St. Gallen, and Basel Switzerland during his apprenticeship. He had a passion for food, travel and fast cars.
Early in the 60’s, Peter met Guido Meyer in Switzerland who offered him a job in Aspen to work at his restaurant. Shortly after, he and his buddy Rudi Rieder decided to come and see what Aspen had to offer. Upon his return to the homeland he never forgot Aspen. So, in 1964, he returned with his wife and took Guido up on his offer to work at Guido’s Swiss Inn. Peter worked at Guido’s as a chef for 2 years while his wife during this time, Theresa Vonier, worked at the Sundeck Restaurant on top of Aspen Mountain for Paul Wirth. When Paul decided to retire from the Sundeck in 1965, they decided to take over the lease from the Aspen Ski Company.
Peter owned and operated the Sundeck for 28 years. For the first 14, he and his family lived on top of the mountain in the restaurant apartment. There were many adventures that came with living up there, including picking up his daughter Brigitte after school on a 1960’s snowmobile and then driving home in a blizzard. Peter gave many new ski bums their first job in Aspen. He fed cold and hungry skiers a hearty Swiss lunch, and will be remembered for his pea soup, beef stew, and bratwurst with sauerkraut.
During his final 10 years at the Sundeck, he had help managing from his partner Ned Graham. After his retirement in 1994 they traveled the world together.
Peter was a quiet man with a good sense of humor and a big smile. He is preceded in death by both of his brothers Ernst and Kurt Birrfelder. He is survived by his daughter Brigitte Birrfelder, husband Scott Nichols, and granddaughter Annika Nichols, along with his best and most loyal friend Ned Graham and Heidi his Swiss Mountain Dog. He is also remembered by his nephew’s Ralph, Roger, and Max Birrfelder and sister-in-law Lillian Birrfelder who reside in Switzerland.
Please join us for a celebration of Peter’s life with a gondola ride and a gathering at the Sundeck on Saturday June 1, 2019 from 4:00-6:00. Please plan to be at the Sundeck by 4:00.
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