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Ed McCaffrey
24 Hours Of Aspen
Aspen, CO


24 Hours Of Aspen

Dear Tom:

"When in 1987 I shared with you my goal to set a world record for “most vertical feet of skiing within a 24-hour period” - to raise awareness and money for those who, like my father, are afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis, I never could have imagined what steps you would take next to turn my vision into a reality, without compensation. When the Aspen Skiing company declined us the use of Aspen Mountain, you arranged for Keystone to make its mountain available for my team to set the World Record in our first attempt, personally ensuring that all competitors remained hydrated and fed throughout the entire 24-hours. Even after our success in Keystone, when top management at the Aspen Skiing Company again attempted to deny us use of their mountain for our 1988 event, you blew right past them to the Board of Directors, leaving in your wake a fired President – leading to a 14-year run for the world-famous event, and over $2 million raised for charities. Suffice it to say, where Tom Martin is concerned, “no” is simply the wrong answer.

As I see the Winter X-Games telecast live from Aspen each year, I recall how you flew me to Dallas to meet with Jack Williams of American Airlines, who agreed to provide us with the international flights for our competitors - and then straight from there to New York to meet with ESPN’s CEO, Roger Werner, who offered to televise our event and arranged for Musco Lighting to light Aspen Mountain from top to bottom for the first time in history. The next day, we crashed the gates at Good Morning America, without an appointment, and arranged for a five-minute live, in-studio interview, followed the next year by similar coverage on the Today Show, all thanks to you.

Your dogged determination and outright audacity to use public service announcements to call for an “Emergency Town Meeting” to solicit the funds and volunteers required to pull-off the inaugural “24 Hours Of Aspen” race was nothing short of legendary. 24 hours of live radio coverage, live satellite news feeds, ESPN television coverage, 500 volunteers and yet another new World Record were the result. Corporate sponsors from RangeRover to Gulfstream to Audi have reaped the benefits of their attachment over the ensuing years to what Sports Illustrated called “downhill racing at its longest and most insane.” While I’ve gotten all of the credit and glory for conceiving of and starting this event (which gave rise to ESPN’s Winter X-Games and Skier-X events), none of it could ever have happened without you. Thank you.”