We all know Tom Blake the trail. . . traversing from Owl Creek road to Snowmass Village with singletrack that is buttery smooth, and gently pitched, with perfect corners, and bursting columbines. In the fall the trail becomes a golden path to enlightenment as the aspens make their seasonal transformation.
But who was Tom Blake the person? A simple Google search had it’s challenges. First, there is another famous Tom Blake. He was an early and iconic surfer and writer who created the California surf style that was brought to the mainstream by The Beach Boys. Nope, not that Tom Blake!
Then there is the trail we all know and love. There are lots of Google results providing trail information, but nothing on the man who was also starting to seem like a myth and a legend. After a few weeks of searching and asking around, an unfortunate event led us to our answer. About a month ago, Tom’s wife, Mary Beth Blake, sadly passed. An article about her passing in the Snowmass Sun shed some light on who Tom was.
“As a schoolgirl, she met her best friend and the love of her life, Tom Blake. The high school sweethearts grew up within 8 miles of each other and after Mary Beth earned her nursing degree from Saint Mary’s College of Indiana and began her nursing career in Chicago, they were married in 1965.
Together, they moved to Snowmass in 1969 after having skied often in Colorado, including attending the grand opening at Snowmass in 1967. They brought to Snowmass Tom’s gregarious nature and Mary Beth’s public-minded spirit, which helped to shape the town as it is today.
With Mary Beth at his side, Tom became general manager of the Snowmass Resort Association at its inception, which he ran for eight years, and their combined efforts helped kick start the resort business into high gear.
Always with Mary Beth’s support, Tom went on to serve as a Pitkin County Commissioner (1980-88) and Snowmass Town Council Member (1990-94). After Tom passed away in 1994, Mary Beth kept alive their community spirit, helping to carve out the popular Snowmass hiking and biking trail bearing Tom’s name in recognition of his advocacy for trail systems.”
So there you have it. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Blake family, and our deepest gratitude go out to Tom and Mary Beth for leaving Snowmass, and the world, a better place.