Socialite Nancy Pfister was found dead, aged 57, at her home on West Buttermilk Road in Aspen, Colorado, on February 26th, 2014. She had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer and her body left covered in bedding in a bedroom closet with a plastic bag over her head and electrical cord wrapped around her neck.
Police investigating the death charged Doctor William ‘Trey’ Styler, a former hospital anesthesiologist, and his wife Nancy Styler, with first-degree murder, along with Pfister’s friend, Kathy Carpenter, who worked as a teller at Alpine Bank in Aspen.
The Stylers had rented Pfister’s home over the winter, but vacated the property in February following a dispute with her. During the three suspects’ detention pending trial, Dr Styler made a plea deal, confessing to being solely responsible for the killing, resulting in charges being dropped against Nancy Styler and Kathy Carpenter. Trey Styler died in August 2015 after committing suicide at the Arrowhead Correction Facility in Cañon City where he was serving a 20-year sentence for second degree murder.
Nancy Pfister was the daughter of Art Pfister, a prominent figure in Aspen who made his fortune when his ranchland was used to create the Buttermilk Ski Area. She was well known in the Aspen community and socialized with celebrities in the Colorado town. She reportedly dated actor Jack Nicholson, and was briefly engaged to Michael Douglas.
The four ski mountains in Aspen are:
Also known as Ajax, Aspen Mountain rises above the town of Aspen and is known for its steep glades, moguls and challenging terrain suited to intermediate and expert skiers.
Snowmass is the largest mountain of the four and although part of the same resort group, it is located in Snowmass Village, some 9 miles (or 14 kilometers) west of downtown Aspen. It has a variety of wide cruiser runs and is a good all-round mountain with something for everyone.
Buttermilk has plenty of gentle beginner and family-friendly slopes, but there is enough challenging terrain to keep intermediate and expert skiers happy. Its wide open cruisers make it a popular choice for snowboarders.
The more low-key mountain of the four, Aspen Highlands is considered the locals’ favorite. Its uncrowded slopes and views towards the Maroon Bells make it the mountain of choice for in-the-know skiers. Those prepared to hike to the top of Highland Peak are rewarded with drop-in access to the Highland Bowl, a basin of double-black-diamond terrain.
A single lift ticket covers all four hills, and in winter, the free Four Mountain Connector daily bus service operates between Snowmass, Highlands, the Aspen Silver Queen Gondola and Buttermilk.
Use of the name Ajax for Aspen Mountain became common in the latter half of the 2oth century, after the development of Aspen into a skiing resort started.
Geologic maps from Aspen’s period as a silver-mining town in the late 1800s denote the point on Aspen Mountain where the original octagonal 1946 Sundeck later stood, as Ajax Hill. The name is likely derived from the Ajax mine nearby.
When the first chairlift was constructed in 1946, it carried riders up Aspen Mountain to a point near Midway, from where a second lift carried passengers to the top of Ajax Hill.
Over the years that followed, people would refer to Aspen Mountain as Ajax Mountain and the names were used interchangeably. In 2000, the Aspen Skiing Company tried to formally change Aspen Mountain’s name to Ajax to avoid marketing confusion with the other three Aspen ski mountains, but the idea was abandoned after meeting with local opposition.