Fire destroys Fort Frog cabin on Buttermilk Mountain

Lauren Glendenning
The Aspen Times
Fort Frog
David Wood / Aspen Shrines |

Smoke could be seen billowing up from the top of Buttermilk Mountain Sunday evening as crews responded to a fire at the Fort Frog children’s center.

The structure, located about one run to the west of the top of the Tiehack chairlift, and about 150 yards downhill, was a total loss, said George Kremer, a deputy with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

“It burned right down to the foundation,” he said.

The call came in to Pitkin County Dispatch at 6:04 p.m. The sheriff’s office and the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department responded, in addition to the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit and the United States Forest Service.

The fire burned about 1 acre of the forest, said Chris Mandrick, law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

The cause is under investigation. The structure was unattended and there were no injuries, Kremer said.

“The fire really couldn’t spread because of the melting snow on the ski run,” Kremer said.

Crews were expected to remain on scene late Sunday night and again first thing Monday morning. Mandrick said he wasn’t able to get close enough Sunday to investigate the cause.

“There hasn’t been much lightning in the area as of late,” he said. “It got dark on us quick — I wasn’t able to get in and take a look at it.”

Once crews knock down the heat and make sure damaged trees aren’t in danger of falling, Mandrick said the investigation can begin, which he expects to happen Monday.

Anyone with any information or leads is asked to contact the Aspen Fire Department at 970-925-5532, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office at 970-920-5300, or Mandrick with the U.S. Forest Service at 720-990-4346.

According to the Sanctuaries in the Snow blog at, “Fort Frog is a children’s center at Buttermilk. It is a wooden frontier-style fort, with lookout towers, flags, old wagons, a jail, a saloon and a native American tepee village. It is named for Greg Fortin, a longtime pro who ran the Aspenauts program for many years at Buttermilk. His nickname was ‘Frog.’”

The blog credits Rick Stevens for providing the information.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.