Let Spider, Beattie and HST shrines live on

What has been accomplished by the ski patrol’s removal of forest shrines honoring some of our local icons, including Hunter Thompson, Bob Beattie and Spider Sabich? Some tacks into the bark removed. Otherwise, not much.

Sure, they may not comply with all laws. So what? Often restrictions imposed do not reflect circumstances on the ground, and this is a case in point. Shrines, part of Aspen’s fabric for half a century, have proved their concept, respect for our past and honor those who enhanced our happiness.

There is no delight, honor or rationale for killing the fun factor, or the respect Aspenites have demonstrated in honor of their icons for decades. Where else do we celebrate people like Bob Beattie and Spider Sabich (two shrines the ski patrol obliterated), two personalities who are part of Aspen’s rich history. Among so many innovations Beattie brought to skiing (i.e. US Ski Team, The World Cup, NASTAR, etc.) he collaborated with Spider in the early ’70s to create a professional sport, world pro skiing. Beats, who lived on Hopkins, was the architect of the head-to-head World Pro Skiing Tour, and Spider, who built a home in Starwood in his 20s, was the marquee star power, a two-time world champion skier, aviator and engineer with the unique panache, good looks, and personality of a James Dean character, the most popular guy in Aspen during that period, and the most effective ambassador for skiing in America. Spider has finally been elected to the US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame, which in turn has inspired a new documentary of his remarkable story. Bob Beattie Ski Foundation ( is producing this new film that will premiere in Aspen on Dec. 11, a time when we anticipate the ski community can once again gather. The film illuminates precisely why we should never forget our heroes, and should always celebrate them.

The film is made possible by Spider’s friends who have banded the funds necessary to create this documentary. Keep an eye out for “Spider Lives.” For more information, including participation:

Mike Hundert

Snowmass Village