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Aspen Skiing Owner Dies in Auto Racing Accident During Birthday Celebration

The ski industry lost one of its most influential and wealthy figureheads over the weekend in an auto accident at a private motorsports raceway near Aspen.

jim crownMartha Lange, Jim Crown, and Tanya Hinch attend The Aspen Institute 33rd Annual Awards Dinner at The Plaza Hotel on November 3, 2016, in New York City; (photo/Jared Siskin, Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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The man whose family owned Aspen Skiing Co. died on Sunday in a vehicle accident at a private race track in Woody Creek, Colo.

Jim Crown, 70, was racing at the Aspen Motorsports Park on Sunday, June 25, when he collided with an impact barrier. State patrol was called to the scene at 2:45 p.m., and Crown was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The coroner’s office stated that multiple blunt force trauma was evident. But, no cause of death has been announced and no further details will be released until the investigation is concluded.

Crown was celebrating his 70th birthday.

Leaving a Legendary Ski Legacy

Aspen, Colorado
(Photo/Courtesy Aspen Skiing Company)

Crown was a figurehead in the history and community of Aspen. In 1985, his family purchased half of Aspen Skiing Co. Then, in 1993, they purchased the other half, becoming the ski corporation’s sole owners. It wasn’t until 2017 that the Crown family partnered with KSL Capital Partners to create Alterra Mountain Company.

Crown remained a managing partner of Aspen Skiing Co. and played an active role in the company right up to the time of his death. Just in the past several months, he’d presided over the opening of the renovated Buttermilk ski area and helped rebrand the Aspen Skiing Co.’s hospitality division.

“The Crown family is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Jim Crown in an accident earlier today,” said Aspen Skiing Co. in a written statement released Sunday. “The family requests that their privacy be respected at this difficult time. Further details regarding plans for a memorial to remember Jim’s remarkable life will be released at a later date.”

Aspen is a legendary name in the ski industry, and Crown oversaw much of the history that has made it so famous. He helped the company grow to become one of the largest (and wealthiest) ski businesses in the world. Today, it comprises four mountains: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, and Highlands. According to Forbes, the Crown family’s net worth was $10.2 billion in 2020.

Crown is survived by his parents, his wife of 38 years, six siblings, four children, his son-in-law, and two grandchildren. A private service celebrating his influential life and legacy will be held later this year, reported the Aspen Times.

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