Thanks for your poignant article regarding Jim Blanning of Aspen (Jan. 8, View to the West by Peter Shelton). I knew Jim in the early 70s when I lived and worked in Aspen. He was something of a Robin Hood hero for sure. You will recall during that period the Aspen Corp. was viewed by most locals as a dictatorial, heavy-handed ski area owner.
That was the period when the ski patrol was attempting to organize under the Teamsters and was in battle with the corp. Blanning was taking the company on with his "claim jumping" of mining claims under lifts and on the mountain.
One of Jim's mentors, Ed Smart, was in the same business and along with John (the Duke) Wayne attempted to buy (in a strip poker game with Mary Avis Pentico, the mayor) the Town of Ophir. That's how I got to these parts and East Ophir is a result of that caper.
Blanning was a true mountain character, the ranks of whom are rapidly disappearing.
– Dick Unruh