‘Julian the snowboarder’ passes at age 103

Julian Vogt is interviewed by NBC's "Today" show at Sunlight Mountain Resort in this file photo..
Kara K. Pearson / Contributed |

Julian Vogt, one of Glenwood Springs’ last surviving centenarians and certainly one of the most physically active even after he turned 100, has died.

Vogt, who would have been 104 in April, passed away Thursday evening at his longtime home on Bennett Avenue in Glenwood Springs, according to his son, Carl.

“He was such an active and friendly person, and always on the move. He never sat down for a long period of time,” Carl Vogt said of his father, who just two weeks ago was up cross country skiing on the Babich Gulch trails at Sunlight Mountain Resort.

He had recently been hospitalized due to back pain from a compressed vertebrae, and was at Grace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center for a few days, but came back home last weekend, Carl said.

Vogt was a staple at Sunlight, where he famously took up snowboarding in his late 70s and kept at it up until just a few years ago when he switched to the relative safety of the Nordic trails. His snowboarding pursuits were even featured on NBC’s “Today Show” in 2005.

He was also a regular at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, where he kept in shape by swimming laps on a regular basis.

Vogt also enjoyed dancing at the summertime concerts in Two Rivers Park and at the annual Oktoberfest celebration downtown, even after his wife, Anna, passed away in October 2011, just six months after Julian turned 100.

“Took a swing lesson with him relatively recently,” wrote Kathy Mueller Flanigan in one of the many Facebook posts that were shared upon news of Vogt’s death. “So sprite, alive and a gentleman he was. Yes, Julian, you will be missed.”

Added former Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts director, Gayle Mortell, “I loved seeing him at the arts center. He came in often to see the art exhibits and was a regular at our events. He was a Glenwood treasure, beloved by all.”

Glenwood Springs Post Independent columnist and former arts and entertainment editor April Clark shared a birthday with Vogt, and had become close friends with him over that commonality.

“This goes out to my main man Julian, who’s up there in heaven dancing, smiling, laughing and yodeling,” Clark wrote in a Facebook post. “I’ll be thinking of you on our special day.”

Vogt was born on April 20, 1911, in San Diego, and a year later the family moved to a small farming town a short distance away called, serendipitously, Julian, which is where he grew up, according to a Post Independent article that appeared on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Julian also happened to be his mother’s maiden name.

“My goal is not numbers, my goal is just to do the best I can,” Vogt mused at the time about reaching 100. “I think that reaching 100 is better than reaching 99, but not as good as reaching 101.”

Vogt graduated high school in 1928, shortly after Charles Lindbergh made his historic trans-Atlantic crossing by plane, which inspired Vogt’s interest in air travel.

He studied aeronautical engineering for a period of time in Tucson, Ariz., but transferred to University of Colorado Boulder in 1932 and then to the University of California at Berkeley where he ultimately graduated with degrees in English and biology.

Julian and Anna Vogt, whom he met in Switzerland, traveled the world quite a bit after they met in 1947 and married the following year. They settled in Glenwood Springs in 1971 following Julian’s retirement after a career with the U.S. government, including the Department of State.

Vogt is survived by his sons, Carl and Michael, both of Glenwood Springs. A full obituary is planned later this week. A memorial service is also being planned.

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