Longtime ski instructor Todd “Toad” Olson passed away in June 2003 at his home in Carbondale at the age of 51, after having endured an arduous five-year battle with leukemia. He is widely heralded as one of the most legendary instructors to have taught at Buttermilk.
For 33 years he worked in the kids' division and was nicknamed “Mr. Toad.” In his memory, a wrought-iron statue of a toad was erected near the entrance to “Toad's Road” on Buttermilk and dedicated on Dec. 20, 2003. The statue was done by local sculptors Jim Snyder and Larry Lefner.
Charles “Chuck” Severy had a successful career as a petroleum geologist in Denver, and then moved to Aspen in 1987, becoming a ski instructor and teaching children at Buttermilk. He died of cancer on April 14, 1998, at the age of 47.
His son, Christopher, died later the same year, on Oct. 12, in an accident while riding his bicycle down a steep road on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. Chuck and Christopher's favorite ski run was Perry's Prowl on Aspen Mountain and there are two plaques dedicated to them, and located on a large rock outcrop near that run. One plaque on the rock is dedicated to both men, and states: “In Loving Memory of Chuck Severy 1951-1998 and Christopher Severy 1976-1998-Our Shining Stars CLS.” The other plaque is dedicated to Chuck Severy alone, and states: “In Memory of Chuck Severy 1951 - 1998.”
There is a joint shrine dedicated to both men and contained on one large tree at Buttermilk. A sign posted on the tree reads as follows: “This is a memorial in honor of Uncle Chuck and Toad, two kids' ski instructors who died of cancer. Please respect their spirits and do not disturb anything. Thank you.”
The shrine consists of many strings of beads, leis, medals, mementos, a parrot, a ski helmet, one of Todd Olson's ski passes, a poem (“Uncle Chuck”) by Robin Severy, piñata figures, and many other items. This shrine is located near the top of Uncle Chuck Glades (named after Chuck Severy in December 2002) at Buttermilk.