Three Telluride sisters keeping family history alive |

Three Telluride sisters keeping family history alive

Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post
ALDASOROS13-- Around Telluride, they are known simply as Òthe sisters.Ó The Aldasoro sisters Cristine Mitchell, left, Pam Bennett, center, and Angie Petersen are the daughters of the late colorful Basque sheepherder turned development magnate, Albert Aldasoro, represent the only family with five generations in the Telluride area. And they are full of colorful stories going back to their Basque grandfather and uncle settling in an area with jagged-toothed mountains that reminded them of their homeland in the Pyrenees. Part of the ranch is now home to the likes of Tom Cruise and formerly Oprah and enclaves of $5 million homes. But the heart of the once poor ranch is still as Joaquin and Serapio found it in the early part of the century. The sisters are currently working with the Telluride Historical Museum to chronicle the story of a sheep-ranching family that became an integral part of the history of a mining town. They call it the ÒBasque Clampett story.Ó RJ Sangosti/ The Denver Post

TELLURIDE – When Angie, Pam and Crissy Aldasoro were growing up in the family’s single-wide trailer on a mesa outside Telluride, they likened it to being in Antarctica.

Peering into the dark in the mid-1960s, they could never see lights. There were no neighbors near the 5,000-acre Aldasoro Brothers Ranch where herds of sheep made the mountain valleys look snow-covered in July. Their outside links were a radio station from faraway Oklahoma City and one TV station that would fade when an antenna was turned in the down-on-its- luck town of Telluride.

Fast forward. The Aldasoro girls – now Pam Bennett, Angie Petersen and Cristine Mitchell, or “the sisters,” as they are known around Telluride – are the executives in a slew of commercial property-management corporations. Part of their ranch is now the largest star-studded subdivision in this high- dollar region. Another piece is the highest commercial airport in the country.

But the sisters are most proud of being the keepers of an agricultural legacy.

The 735-acre heart of the ranch that their Basque grandfather bought as prime sheep pasture is still theirs, treasured for its colorful history.

“We never thought anyone would come up here,” said Pam, as she took in the panorama of peaks from the ranch where Angie lives in an upgraded triple-wide on the site of the original tin trailer.

Fanning out from this ranch, mountain manses, electronic gates and copper- topped fences dot and line the steep folds of land. Jets rise and sink below at the busy airport. Trucks hauling supplies grind up the hard-packed roads.

At times, the helicopters of paparazzi whir overhead. Tom Cruise has a home here. Other neighbors include writer Clive Cussler, a former NFL running back and a top executive with Frito-Lay.

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