Tag Archives: The understories

Understories cover image

The Understories big announcement

Winter’s here and we decided now’s the time to really try to spread the word about The Understories. Here’s the press release we issues December 3.


Ski Patrolmen tell (almost) all in new memoir about the wild side of life in Vail and Aspen during the 1960s and 70s

VAIL, Colo., Dec. 3, 2013 — Vail and Aspen are now world-famous ski resorts, but in the 1960s they were unknown towns on the edge of the Rocky Mountain wilderness, where characters of questionable repute rediscovered the Wild West, left their old lives behind, and found a way to dream big and live large.

In photos, limericks, character sketches and long-form storytelling, a new book called “The Understories,” tells tales large and small about the early days of Vail and Aspen from the perspective of the ski patrolmen who helped create world-class skiing by day, and world-class partying by night (Boyd, S., 2013, The Understories. Denver, CO, Flat Earth Media, $29.95, www.theunderstories.com).

It was the height of America’s social revolution. Hippies, beatniks, and protestors were grabbing headlines throughout the United States, but a different breed of rebels was seeking to form a new kind of society in the faraway Mountain West. Virtually cut off from the rest of the world, the ski patrolmen of Vail and Aspen strove to re-invent themselves and create a new way of life – free from the constraints of established custom.

With plenty of well-stocked bars, and lots of wide-open ski terrain, the patrolmen of Vail and Aspen’s early days carved a legendary path that still informs ski and snowboard culture to this day. The book explores the serious side of issues like avalanche protection and medical care, and also dives into the late-night pranks and shenanigans that kept ski patrolmen in hot water with management.

Most of the book’s stories are told by author Steve “Louie” Boyd, a ski patrolman at Aspen Highlands in the late 1950s who moved to Vail and joined ski patrol in the resort’s second season, 1963.

“We lived in a unique time, and in a unique place,” Boyd said. “The cultural revolution was under way, but we weren’t necessarily aware of that. We had no TV, no radio except up at patrol headquarters, and no newspapers, except the Vail Trail. Yet somehow we were wholeheartedly taking part in it, shedding every aspect of our former lives, and breaking every rule.”
Beyond Boyd’s stories, the book includes more than 60 vintage, color and black-and-white photographs of Vail, Aspen, and the surrounding wilderness, plus additional stories and photos from Jim Himmes, Mike Ewing, Dick Dennison, Mike Woods, Davey Floyd, Dave Stanish, Sandy Hinmon, Dan Cady, Jeff Supinger, Larry Benway, Chuck Malloy, Claire Beck, and Jeanne Nedrelow.

It is available at select bookstores, the Colorado Ski Museum and Hall of Fame, and online at www.theunderstories.com.