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Snowmass history: (Temporarily) blinded by the light

Surprise September snowfall hospitalized shepherds with snow blindness

Aspen Historical Society
A sheep herd owned by the Christensen brothers moves along on Highway 82 near the intersection with Brush Creek Road (Cozy Point Ranch) in 1966. A related image is in the Aspen Illustrated News on September 29, 1966.
Cherie Jenkins Hiser/Aspen Historical Society, Aspen Illustrated News Collection

“Snow blindness hospitalizes two here this week,” announced the Aspen Daily Times on Sept. 8, 1961.

“Two men were hospitalized in Aspen this week from snow blindness as a result of surprise snow storms over the Labor Day weekend. The two, Joseph Vigil and Joseph Chacon, both sheep herders for Dave and Perry Christensen, Snowmass, suffered eye damage while attempting to bring out the Christensen flocks in the bright sunshine early this week,” the paper reported.

“The flocks were stranded in over a foot of new snow Monday on Gold Hill above Taylor Pass. Wednesday the two mounted men found their way down to Ashcroft and were driven to Aspen.”



The Christensen brothers, who operated the Owl Creek Ranch, would bring their flock down from the high mountain meadows up Castle Creek each fall and take them to the fields along Brush Creek, pictured here a September 1966 shot by photographer Cherie Jenkins Hiser.


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