Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (April 23, 2017) | AspenTimes.com

Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (April 23, 2017)

Community members open their hearts

The members of the Snowmass Village Community Outreach Committee would like to thank all at our Alpine Bank, Snowmass Village Branch, for their tremendous help and co-contributions to our annual “Open Your Heart” campaign.

Every year in February, Carol Dresser and employees at the bank are kind enough to step up to the plate and allow us to not only sell hearts there but to match our donations! Our fund has been able to help so many locals when unexpected emergencies come up. We would not be able to this without Alpine Bank and you! (All of the locals who support us by purchasing hearts, and making donations.)

Many thanks to you to all!

Betsy Burns-Sima, Mary Lou Farrell, Nancy Ferguson, Marion Garrett, Tyler Newton

Snowmass Village Community Outreach Committee

Community help eases plight of ski injury

I want to thank everyone in our community who assisted with my rescue and treatment after a ski accident March 4. I’d just completed a mid-afternoon run down Ozone, under blue-bird skies. Above the traverse, at the bottom of Highland Bowl, I clicked out of my right ski. I have no idea why that binding released. Neither do the ski shop techs, after professionally testing the equipment. Skiing on my one remaining ski, I was now headed for the woods, unable to avoid hitting a tree. In 50-plus years of alpine downhill and ski mountaineering, I have never collided with anything in the mountains. This was my “old reliable” setup. The DIN 12 bindings, set on 8 (a couple points above that prescribed by industry standard), had never released during the past two seasons since being new.

In an attempt to protect myself from the energy of the impact during collision, I simultaneously broke both forearms, which I’d crossed in front of me to fend off the trunk of a pine tree. Later, we found out I’d also injured ribs, torn connective tissue in my chest and contused internals. If I hadn’t gotten the arms up to function as “airbags,” this would have been even more serious. Extremely fortunate, but now crumpled against the tree, I was conscious, obviously in shock and in serious pain. Breathing was very difficult. The thought came that I just might not make it out of this.

Having been a prior member of the Aspen Highlands, Snowbird, Utah ski patrols and Mountain Rescue Aspen, it was rather “interesting” to be on this side of the rescue equation. I had responded to serious wrecks while working as a patroller, but skiing since age 12, I’d never had any personal ski emergencies. After a very strong 2016-17 ski season, I never imagined an accident like this would happen, especially on relatively easy terrain.

I am grateful to local Katie King, who made the first emergency call from the field. Other acquaintances happened upon the scene. Aspen Highlands ski patrol first responder Andy Biehl and other members of the ski patrol arrived. Thanks to Mac Smith, Terry McShane, Kevin Haggerty and the entire Aspen Highlands ski patrol for their expertise, training and immediate care. Further thanks to Dr. Greg Balko, who was the on-duty emergency room physician, Aspen Valley Hospital nurses, emergency room staff, and Mountain Ambulance. During a 2 1/2-hour surgery, Dr. Thea Wojtkowski expertly stabilized fractures in both my forearms, with stainless plates and screws. Thanks to Jon Boxer, Mark Joseph, Drs. Glismann, Borchers, Khan-Farooqi and Livengood for their friendship and attention after this accident. Thanks also to Cathy, Frank, Joey, Roy, Gene and Dwight for their daily help and sincere encouragement. Pathfinders Aspen brought me a meal. Associates at Coldwell Banker Mason Morse helped out while I was down. Thank you to all of my many trusted friends for their extraordinary care and attention.

Aspen is a great small town. People here have a lot of heart, especially when it comes to going the extra mile for each other. Anyone who has experienced serious trauma to a loved one or themselves understands how fortunate survivors are. Those who make expert rescue and medical care possible are very special professionals, placing complete focus on the injured, while employing their considerable skills. I have recovered from cancer twice in the past eight years, and had the usual list of Aspen sports-related orthopedic injuries during the 40 years I’ve lived here. The care I’ve received in this valley has been excellent. I’ve never felt like a patient who was just a number. My recent experience confirms caregivers in this valley respond at the highest level.

I am honored and grateful to all those who helped me. As a result, they have given me hope and made my recovery a reality. Although I expect it will take a while, I look forward to seeing you back on the mountains!

Peter Kelley


Thanks from the Aspen Ute Foundation

Gratitude to city of Aspen, Mountain Chalet, Annabelle Lodge, Hotel Aspen, Hotel Jerome, Hotel Element, Aspen Skiing Co., Salvador and Caroline Quezada, Jason Flom, Kevin Pasolli, Mark Borderick and all the volunteers who contributed to a successful 12th annual American Indian Pow Wow Exhibition of dance and drumming downtown Aspen on April 8. A big thank-you to the local community who came in good numbers to support our indigenous cultural program!

Deanne Vitrac-Kessler

Founder, Aspen Ute Foundation

A big thank-you to Aspen Elementary School

Ascendigo Autism Services is incredibly grateful to Aspen Elementary School’s fourth-grade classes for their generous donations to Ascendigo and Aspen Valley Land Trust. Denise Vetromile and Katie Fox’s classes chose to donate a portion of their March 23 Lemonade Day proceeds to the two Carbondale-based nonprofits in support of causes they believe in.

The donation made will go directly to supporting the 2017 Ascendigo Autism Services Summer Camp. Our nine-week residential camp gives sport opportunities to young people who normally are not part of the outdoor camp experience — rock climbing, wakeboarding, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, biking, hut trips and many other exciting adventures.

Ascendigo’s mission is to promote the inclusion and acceptance of individuals with autism and other cognitive disabilities within their communities. Witnessing the youth in this valley support such an important cause with an ever growing presence, we are truly inspired. To all of the students, staff and partners involved, Ascendigo Autism Services extends a sincere “thank you!”

Conlan McGough and the entire team at Ascendigo Autism Services Inc.


Thrift Shop grant recipients

Each month, Aspen Thrift Shop volunteers meet to continue to accomplish or mission: to make grants to other nonprofit organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley. We are grateful to all community members who faithfully support our efforts by donating and purchasing gently used clothing and household items. For the month of April we are pleased to announce the following recipients: Aspen School District bands, Family Visitor Programs, Third Street Center, Independence Pass Foundation, Your Friends for Life, Camp Smashbox at Snowmass Chapel, Wildwood School, Theater Masters, Roaring Fork Leadership, Roaring Fork Conservancy and Catholic Charities.

Ladies of the Thrift Shop

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.