Michael Jackson Shrine reported missing from Aspen Mountain


Proud Member
Aug 22, 2007
Michigan USA

Shrines reported missing from Aspen Mountain

Aspen Daily News
Friday, March 30, 2012

Five shrines on the slopes of Aspen Mountain have reportedly been cleared over the last month, but U.S. Forest Service and Aspen Skiing Co. officials said they were not responsible for their removal.

More than 40 shrines have proliferated in groves of trees on the local ski hills in recent decades, mostly on Aspen Mountain. They are typically ski-up attractions, and include items like log benches, knick-knacks and photographs honoring their subjects.

The shrines are technically illegal structures, according to the Forest Service, which owns much of the land on Aspen Mountain. The federal land agency, however, has historically taken a hands-off approach on shrines. The SkiCo, which leases the ski area from the Forest Service, doesn’t officially recognize or sanction them, nor has it historically acted on removing them.

Over the course of March, the shrines devoted to drummers, Burning Man, golf, Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson have all been reportedly cleared out of the trees.

“I think it’s really sad someone would do that,” said Kathy Welgos, a local skier who constructed the Jackson shrine in the fall.

It had been located near the Buckhorn Cabin, and included photos and life-size cutouts of the pop star.

SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle said the company didn’t do anything to Michael Jackson or any of the other shrines.

“We don’t put them up, we don’t take them down,” Hanle said in a voicemail. “We are not going to be the officiators of which ones are up and which ones are down.”

Welgos had asked patrollers for information about the missing shrines, and posted notes asking for leads about the “shrine crime” at various on-mountain message boards, to no avail.

She said she commissioned an artist to make a large painted sign for the Jackson shrine, featuring musical notes and the words “King of Pop” on weather-proof metal. She is hoping to retrieve it.

“I really just want my sign back,” she said.

Forest Service spokesman Bill Kight said that the agency’s Aspen office has received queries from skiers in recent days about what happened to the shrines. He said they weren’t taken down by the Forest Service.

“Apparently somebody is doing it that we don’t know anything about,” Kight said. “It wasn’t an official act.”

David Wood, author of “Sanctuaries in the Snow,” a 2010 book cataloguing the shrines, posted an alert message on his website asking for information about the missing Michael Jackson items. Wood also reported online that a new golf shrine was erected in the trees above Bonnie’s restaurant, while the old one was cleared.

“I have no idea who is doing this or why. ... Apparently someone who does not like the shrines and someone who has no respect for memorials to the deceased,” Wood wrote in an email.

Andrew Travers,
Aspen Daily News Staff Writer


41. The Michael Jackson Shrine (Aspen Mountain)

Photos of the shrine and more information

The Michael Jackson Shrine was installed in the trees near the Buckhorn Cabin on Aspen Mountain in the Fall of 2011 by Kathy. It contains several large cutouts of Jackson, several laminated photos of him, some Tibetan prayer flags, a metal sign saying "King of Pop" with some musical notes, some wind chimes, and other items.