Donald Paul Krumm
Longtime Aspen ski patroller Donald Paul Krumm, 78, died at his Aspen home on Feb. 16, 2018. Born in Seattle to Oscar and Beatrice Krumm, he grew up an avid Boy Scout who took to all things outdoors. He graduated from Seattle’s Roosevelt High School in 1957. After attending the University of Washington, he joined the Marines. Following his honorable discharge, Krumm came to Aspen where he went to work for Charley Bolte on the Aspen Highlands ski patrol. On the patrol, his first name, “Don,” never stuck. To his fellow patrollers, he was simply “Krumm.” He left the Highlands when Bill Mencimer hired him on the Snowmass Patrol in 1968. Krumm was soon promoted to patrol supervisor. A natural leader, a graceful skier, affable in the patrol room, and at the Red Onion or the Elks Club when the day was done, he set the standard for patrol excellence and demanded it of the men and women who worked under him. A job was “Krumm-perfect,” or you repeated it until you got it right. You crossed him at your own peril. He weathered the bitter patrol strike of 1971 with friends on both sides of the picket line. In 1975 he and fellow patroller Peter Hoffman scraped together the down payment for a house in Aspen’s fashionable West End. Just big enough for two bachelors, the price was right: $75,000. Later, Krumm bought out his partner and lived in this tiny brick Victorian for the rest of his life. He never married. Healthy nearly until the end, he seemed puzzled when other people fell ill. In a lifetime of ski patrolling, he never took a sick day. Krumm had a remarkable aversion to hats and may have never worn one, even in bitter weather. He retired from the patrol the year before the Aspen Skiing Company mandated helmets for skiing employees. When the ski lifts closed each spring, Krumm did a variety of things. He partnered with Frank Bering in the Winery restaurant in Grand Junction, owned and operated a TV rental business, drove a concrete truck, tended bar, dove for abalone off the California coast, and worked construction. He bought rental properties in the Methow Valley, Washington. He was a keen businessman and famously thrifty. Besides skiing, Krumm enjoyed hunting elk in Aspen, sailing his Hobie Cat on Lake Havasu, and vacationing in the Caribbean. On special occasions he took a spin in his beloved 1967 Jaguar. However, every November he was back at work on the ski patrol. When he left the patrol in 2008, he said, “I put on ski boots every morning for 47 years. I’m done.” Don Krumm leaves behind two nieces in Washington, a nephew in Illinois and their families. His ashes will be buried in Red Butte Cemetery next to Mary Sue Erickson, the love of his life. A community celebration of his life is pending. Remembrances may be made to the Aspen Ski Patrol or charity of choice.
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