Devid Stapleton - Aspen and FIS official

Passing Date

Aspen native David Stapleton, a FIS race official and safety activist, died December 10, 2020, from complications due to COVID-19. He was 86.

Stapleton grew up on his family’s ranch, which became the Aspen airport, and raced for the Aspen Ski Club beginning in 1945. He qualified for the Junior National Championships at Stowe in 1951. He enlisted in the Army in 1954, serving in Alaska, and in 1956 joined his father’s insurance brokerage. In 1957 he married Sigrid Braun, daughter of mountaineer Fred Braun. They raised five children.

In 1963, at age 29, Stapleton was elected to the Aspen City Council, serving two terms. He worked with the ski club, school district, hospital board and mountain rescue.

Stapleton was the first World Cup race official from Aspen, and for nearly 25 years, from 1968 until 1991, worked variously as chief of race, chief of course, race chairman, TV coordinator, starter, timer and race referee. He was the chief of course for the women’s downhill at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid.

He served as president of the Rocky Mountain Division of the United States Ski Association (USSA) and was a national vice president of USSA. Stapleton served on the Aspen Ski Club board for 20 years, including three years as president.

Stapleton worked hard to improve safety in racing. He helped develop a landmark initiative that mandated FIS standards for alpine course design. That led to many of the safety practices still in place today.

In 2008, David and Sigrid Stapleton were inducted together into the Aspen Hall of Fame, and Stapleton into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2016 the Stapleton Training Center at Aspen Highlands was named for the family. Sigrid passed away in 2019.