John Litchfield remembered as one of the fathers of Aspen Skiing
John Litchfield founded the Red Onion restaurant, and was one of the men who helped to transform Aspen into a prominent ski destination. Litchfield died last Friday evening at a Denver nursing home at the age of 93.
George Loudis, a longtime friend of Litchfield, and a fellow member of the 10th Mountain Division said, “…those who know Litchfield will remember him as a man who was always vying to be the best at everything.” A Denver resident, Loudis said he helped Litchfield out during the waning years of his life, driving him to the store to get various things he needed. Loudis is only a few years younger than Litchfield.
“He had the Red Onion in the early days of Aspen,” Loudis said. “There was a whole crew in Aspen from the 10th Mountain Division after World War II. He was always trying to get to the ‘top of the heap.’ He was a very strong-minded person.”
The Ski Museum of Maine notes that he returned to Colorado after that war, and his skills “were put to use by Hollywood when he performed as a stand-in for Jimmy Stewart in the movie ‘Mortal Storm.’ In that film, he skied down a mountain, chased by machine-gun-firing Nazis.”
The Aspen Historical Society holds a collection of Litchfield’s personal and professional papers, maps, letters, photographs, medals and awards, in the original order that Litchfield requested. Litchfield is a member of the Colorado, Maine and U.S. skiing halls of fame.
Litchfield was married and divorced twice. Loudis said that Litchfield was mostly unhappy in the last years of his life because his body and health wouldn’t allow him to do the things he liked to do.
The complete Aspen Times article can be found here.
(Photo Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)