VAIL — The town of Vail Public Library will host a Living History presentation featuring “Fritz Benedict” with Al Dietsch at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The library is located at 292 W. Meadow Drive.
Fritz Benedict (1914-1995) first fell in love with Aspen in 1941 when, while working for Frank Lloyd Wright. He went there to race in the National Skiing Championships. However, what made Fritz’s 40 years of living in Aspen outstanding wasn’t only his skiing ability, it was his combination of vision, design and love of the outdoors that enabled him to leave his mark on the town of Aspen as it awoke from its long sleep after the 1893 silver crash.
With his beloved and entertainingly unconventional wife, Fabi, he left a legacy of community involvement that guided the development and growth of Aspen. Fritz also designed the master plans for Vail in 1962, Snowmass in 1967 and Breckenridge in 1971. He founded the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association to encourage appreciation and use of Colorado’s mountains for recreational purposes. Today, the association manages 30 backcountry huts connected by 350 miles of trails.
While training with the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale near Aspen in 1942, Fritz vowed to return to the little mining town after the war was over. He was decorated for scouting behind German lines to find bridges and other infrastructure that would allow American forces to move through the rugged Italian mountains. When the war ended, he returned to Aspen and bought a 600-acre sheep ranch on Red Mountain above the town. It was his first step in the journey that was instrumental in shaping the future of the town as it grew into one of the world’s foremost resorts.
Dietsch is a lawyer and businessman who became a storyteller with Spellbinders in his retirement years. He has lived in Aspen for 30 years. Dietsch knew Fritz personally; both were chairmen of the Aspen Music Festival and School. Dietsch shares Fritz’s passion for preserving the beauty of nature as Colorado’s Western Slope continues to act as a magnet attracting new residents.
This program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please call 970-479-2187.