63-year old Charlie Toups, who has been called "the ultimate ski bum," has been imprisoned in Georgetown, Colorado, for more than fifty days because he won't plead guilty to several federal charges, reports the Denver Post. Since 1976, Toups has skied 120 days a season, making money by shoveling snow, stocking shelves, and doing odd jobs. At the end of the day, he would retire to his old Ford truck and camper, parked nearby whatever hill he was skiing that year. For more than 30 years, this is how Toups lived, until car problems forced him to park in the wrong spot, and he was issued a ticket for camping on public land as well as several summonses that went unanswered (they were sent to a P.O. box in another city). When officials sought him out and found him -- skiing, of course -- he resisted arrest "in the sense that he tensed up." When Toups was handcuffed and searched, the arresting officers found a small amount of marijuana on his person. With the three charges combined, Toups faces more than two years in a federal prison and $250,000 in fines. The Post reports that Toups could "walk free with time served if he admitted his guilt. But [he] won't do that."
In the article, Mike Tierney, a veteran ski patroller at Highlands, describes Toups as "the epitome of ski bums. He was the real deal...We don't see those kind of ski bums anymore. And that's kind of sad."
-- Lisa Lombardi