Aspen Ski Resort Co-Owner Dies in Speedway Crash
James Crown was the patriarch of the family that bought the resort in 1985 and partnered with Alterra Mountain Company in 2018
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Sad news out of Aspen this weekend, as the Crown family patriarch James Crown was killed in a crash at Aspen Motorsports Park in nearby Woody Creek on Sunday, June 25. The part-time Aspen resident hit an impact barrier at the member-owned track that races go-karts and race cars. Which type of vehicle he was operating at the time hasn’t been shared. He was 70 years old.
Crown, who was on the board that operates the Aspen Institute, a think tank that aims to solve complex societal issues, was in town for the Institute’s annual Aspen Ideas Festival. “The Aspen Institute is deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and former Board Chair Jim Crown,” the Institute shared on its website. “We love and admire Jim and the Crown Family. Jim was a friend to so many and a consequential member of our Board of Trustees.”
Crown, who was currently serving as a managing partner at Aspen Skiing Company, was involved with the ski area since his family purchased half of it in 1985, then the other half in 1993. Despite his many other responsibilities, including chairman and chief executive officer of securities firm Henry Crown and Co., lead director of General Dynamics Corp., and director of JPMorgan Chase, Crown remained rooted in the ski industry. He recently oversaw the reopening of Buttermilk after a big renovation and was involved in the hiring of several executives after former Ski Co. CEO Mike Kaplan stepped down at the end of the season.
Outside of the ski industry, Crown, who spent most of his time in Chicago, was dedicated to cleaning up his home city. Just earlier this month, Crown announced an initiative with the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, a nonprofit on which he was a member, to raise money to reduce crime in the city.
Crown is survived by his wife of 38 years, Paula, four children, two grandchildren, and his parents.