UPDATE: 09/07/2018 – According to the Aspen Times, the case of the missing Bell chair is closed. It took less than 24 hours for the people behind the theft to return the chair to the Aspen Skiing Co. after it asked for it back, no questions asked.
An unidentified man called the Aspen Mountain administration office on Thursday morning, reporting that he knew where the chair was and he would drop it off at the base of Lift 1A, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.
Officials at Aspen Mountain are asking for the safe return of a chair that was stolen from the Bell Mountain lift last week – no questions asked.
The 33-year-old lift cannot run without all of its chairs on the line because of its design and mechanics. And even though it doesn’t run often, the Bell chair is a crucial link to access the mountain when it is a low-snow year, or there are issues with the Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle said Wednesday.
“Although we had top-to-bottom skiing, we ran Bell for the first 25 days or so of last season because the best skiing was the man-made surface and that allowed guests to lap that area,” Hanle told the Aspen Times.
Hanle said Skico officials considered giving a reward but decided to rely on good, old-fashioned honesty.
“I don’t think we want to get into a ransom situation,” he said. “It’s a karmic reward.”
A lift maintenance worker noticed the chair gone after a couple of days of it sitting near the upper terminal on top of Bell Mountain. It had been removed from the line so a work chair could be installed for routine maintenance on the lift.
“I’m certain someone thought this would make a cool bench in their backyard and didn’t consider the bigger impacts this could have,” said JT Welden, Aspen Mountain manager, in a prepared statement. “We all want the Bell chair to spin this year, so we are hopeful that the chair is returned and we can get ready for a great season.”
If anyone saw a truck or vehicle, or anything suspicious in the vicinity of Bell Mountain last week, or maybe have other information regarding the missing chair, they are asked to call 970-920-0751.