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Elizabeth & Sam Stapleton

Sam and Elizabeth Hammerick Stapleton were both born in the Roaring Fork Valley—Sam, the third generation of ranchers on Owl Creek in 1927 and Liz in Glenwood Springs in 1928. Married in 1948, they raised three children on the Stapleton family ranch, where Liz still lives.

Sam’s Knob on the Snowmass Mountain ski area is named after Sam, who tirelessly offered guide service and advice to a fledgling group of planners and skiers intent on creating the ski mountain we find there today. Sam and his family had run sheep and cattle in the area for generations, so Sam knew the area better than anyone. Sam, deceased in 2006, was the president of the Aspen Fire Board for 52 years, served on the School Board, worked for the Aspen Skiing Company for 48 years, and left this world with his rancher’s blood running strong.

Liz taught school at the Owl Creek one-room schoolhouse for a short period, ran the Stapleton Spur Bed and Breakfast, aided the Chamber of Commerce (now the Aspen Chamber Resort Association) for many years, is a member of Eastern Star and is a member of the generations-old Aspen Literary Club.

Sam was known for years as the guy who could predict the weather by the fuzz on this year’s caterpillar crop, or the height of the pussy willows.