Ski Bums For Life

Footage from the vault. Or, why this guy’s dad is cooler than my dad.



Words: Heather Hansman

The 70s and 80s in Aspen were, according to the Aspen Historical Society, “a time of civic introspection and hedonistic lifestyle,” and Daniel Kelly Brown’s dad, Joe “Jughead” Brown, was in the thick of it, throwing doubles, smashing pow, and shooting this video. My dad? My dad was in Boston learning about aeronautical engineering, looking skinny, and trying to pull off the headband and dirtlip look.

Jughead, along with a slew of other idealistic skiers, moved to Aspen just when it was transitioning from a ranching valley to a glitzy ski town. “My dad has been a ski bum carpenter ever since he moved to Aspen in 1968,” Daniel says.

Step one of ski bum success is learning to game the system, and that’s how this footage came together. Jughead, in addition to making wiggle turns and trailing ladies in one-pieces, had found a way to guarantee himself first tracks. “He used the 8mm camera as an excuse to ski down first, get the fresh run, and then film his friends from the bottom,” Daniel says. “Often times he didn’t even have tape in the camera as film came at a cost and he was living on a budget.”

The film has been marinating since then. Daniel says he found the old film in storage, projected it onto a wall and re-filmed it so he could digitize it.

The younger Brown says his dad, who is almost 70, is still in Aspen, and still skiing. He’s in the market for a pair of 190 Rossi S7s. My father, for the record, is still skiing on K2 World Pistes. Genetics are a bitch sometimes.

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