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Listener Spotlight: Jere Rood

By Matt Kissane

Jere Rood says, “I was born high, and I remain high.” Born in Leadville, Jere migrated to Aspen in 1973 after his divorce, and he hasn’t left. After his 20-year career as a teacher and counselor in Chicago and San Francisco, he quickly learned how to sustain an Aspen lifestyle by making the most of being a ski lift operator, rebuilding a cabin in a nearby ghost town, and driving buses full to fun destinations.

“I was born high, and I remain high.” – Jere Rood

Aspen has a reputation for its high cost of living, of course, but also for its sheer beauty and fun-loving atmosphere. Jere found his element in the latter, and when he talked of his highs they may have included some chemical enhancement for a while – but he embraced sobriety in 1986.

Since then it’s that good old Rocky Mountain high that sustains him, even after losing all of his eyesight. That began 1999. During corneal surgery he contracted a pseudomonas infection and the treatment damaged his optic nerve. His vision deteriorated until 2018, when he lost all his sight at a rapid rate. He was 82 and still a very accomplished skier. He finally had to hang them up, for a while.

Right now, he’s learning to live blind – learning how to ski blind will come later.

He enrolled in the Colorado Center for the Blind’s seniors program, where he learned his skills. He regularly attends activities at the Pitkin County Senior Services Center. “We have a marvelous seniors center in Aspen,” Jere says. He wasted no time sharing AINC’s flyers and connecting us with his friends.

Jere is still very popular in Aspen, among the young and young-at-heart alike, hosting them at his home and sharing his stories. He likes to sit on his porch, enjoying mountain-high vibes and picturing the Maroon Bells, the Elk Range, and all its wildlife in his mind. When you really want to live in a place, sometimes learning how to live blind is that simple.

Headshot of Matt

Matt Kissane

Listener Service Coordinator

303-786-7777 extension 4108

This article was provided by the Audio Information Network of Colorado (AINC), a non-profit serving the blind and visually impaired community since 1991. Please consider making a donation to support our efforts.


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