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The Aspen connection

Posted in Blog by People's Press on July 19, 2011

Mark Shaw talks to People’s Press about the “defining moments” he experienced in Aspen that changed his life. July 19th marked the release of Shaw’s book, Road to a Miracle.

“Aspen in the 1970s was the best time. There weren’t a lot of rules and it was a very peaceful place with a lot of camaraderie,” Mark Shaw says about his first hiatus to Aspen. “It opened up a whole new world to me.”

It turns out Aspen would play a significant role in Shaw’s life, which he chronicles in his new book, Road to a Miracle. Twice he ventured to the mountains during pivotal times in his life. And in both instances, Aspen triggered inspiration, or what Shaw calls “defining moments” that would provide him with life-changing direction.

The first was in 1976 when Shaw quit his successful practice as a criminal defense attorney in Indiana and moved to Aspen. “It shocked everyone I knew at the time. But I knew criminal law wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.” Shaw had visited Aspen the year before and decided to make the move West. “In Aspen, there were all kinds of different people from all kinds of different places. It opened me up to the world. It was a very special time.”

Shaw’s arrival happened to coincide with the famous murder trial in 1976 when French actress Claudine Longer was arrested for fatally shooting her boyfriend, former Olympic skier Spider Sabich. Shaw covered the case as a legal analyst for Good Morning America, which opened him to a career in entertainment that would span over twenty years.

During the trial, Shaw also met Dave Danforth, a local reporter who would later become his partner in founding the Aspen Daily News, the only independent daily newspaper that still exists in Aspen to this day. “Starting a career in the entertainment industry and starting the Aspen Daily News would make the difference in my life moving forward,” Shaw says.

Many years later, his career in entertainment would inadvertently lead to the “war of words” between Shaw and Indiana Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight in 2000. “Both of us lost,” Shaw admits. “Knight his job, and me my step-family through a messy divorce.”

In Road to a Miracle, Shaw accepts blame for his mistakes. “I went through a tough time. I was addicted to fame and got carried away,” he says. Shaw went back to Colorado to cover the Kobe Bryant case in Eagle in 2003 and knew that once again, Aspen was where he needed to be to sort things out.

“This time I was beginning a spiritual journey, one that would lead me to the miracle, to discovering a daughter and two grandchildren I never knew existed and who thought I was dead,” Shaw says. He got involved with the church and did some serious soul searching. “I began thinking seriously about what I wanted to do with my life. I was sitting on a rock by the Roaring Fork River east of town one day when I decided I wanted to go seminary.”

Shaw says it was the “spiritual leanings” of the mountains that stirred a readiness for discovery that would eventually lead to the miracle. “In many ways, Aspen prepared me for that, for becoming a father when I never believed that would happen in my life.”

Shaw now lives near Boulder with his wife Wen-Ying Lu and comes to Aspen whenever he can. “There’s something about it, for me anyway, that’s very spiritual. Aspen has meant so much to me in my life.”




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