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Kingsbury Pitcher, ski area pioneer, owner of Wolf Creek, dead at 98

Ski resort pioneer Kingsbury Pitcher, whose family owns southwestern Colorado’s Wolf Creek ski area, died in his sleep on Dec. 29, 2017, at his home in Santa Fe. He was 98.

They called him Pitch. Born in 1919 in southern California, he spent his youthful summers in Silverton with his grandfather, Otto Mears, the “Pathfinder of the San Juans” who forged toll roads that became railroads that connected the remote villages and mining towns in southern Colorado’s rugged San Juan mountains.

Pitcher ski raced for Stanford University, where he studied business and economics. After graduating in 1941, he college he became an instructor at Friedl Pfeifer’s ski school in Sun Valley, Idaho. In the spring of 1942, enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and after serving in World War II as a pilot and training officer, he started a flight school in Santa Fe.

“Flying and skiing became his life,” reads a statement from his son, Davey Pitcher.

He moved to Aspen in 1951 and started a cattle ranch near Woody Creek. While working the property, he would often gaze across the valley and envision skiing on the flanks of the Burnt and Baldy mountains. He eventually scouted that terrain with planes, horses and skis and proposed would become Snowmass.

The owner of Wolf Creek Pass Ski area Kingsbury Pitcher cuts turns down mountain at Wolf Creek Pass Ski area during heavy early season snows on Nov. 12, 2000.

Shaun Stanley, The Denver Post

The owner of Wolf Creek Pass Ski area Kingsbury Pitcher cuts turns down mountain at Wolf Creek Pass Ski area during heavy early season snows on Nov. 12, 2000.

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