Fear and Loathing on Aspen's Alps

Off the slopes, Gerry Goldstein palled around with Aspen neighbor Hunter S. Thompson

Published in 2006 Texas Super Lawyers Magazine — October 2006

It took 22 years of cajoling from his wife and the purchase of a second home in Aspen, Colo., to get Gerry H. Goldstein on skis. That was in 1985. Goldstein was 41. Fast-forward more than two decades and Goldstein’s British-born wife Christine may be wondering what kind of monster she created.
 
A nationally prominent criminal defense attorney who splits his time between Aspen and San Antonio, Goldstein skis 100 days a year, more often than not on steep terrains that he affectionately calls “the out of bounds.” And when warm weather absconds with his natural playground, he bikes voraciously, whether on a European family vacation or traveling in the United States on business.
 
Goldstein is the first to admit that his passion to be on the slopes changed who he is off them.
 
“My best competitive sport up until then was sunbathing,” he says. “I’d be out early in the morning and when someone came by with drinks, that was the sign to turn over.”
 
Spoken like a man who, not surprisingly, made fast friends with the late Hunter S. Thompson, an Aspen neighbor when they worked together on the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Goldstein also represented Thompson in several legal matters.
 
“Visiting Owl Farm [Hunter’s home] was always exciting,” he recalls. “You’d get to spend the evening talking sports with George Plimpton or visiting with a female motorcycle gang from Louisiana.”
 
A regular contributor to Aspen Magazine, Goldstein has written extensively about his skiing adventures, including one that found him negotiating “4,000 vertical feet of steep chutes, tight glades and rolling expanse” in Aspen’s mountainous backcountry with professional guides and a free-skiing champion.
 
“I find it to be kind of a mental enema,” he says of his stints in rarified air and away from the office. “You’re focused on the task at hand. It keeps you from coming back to work with a bunch of baggage that you thought about all weekend.”
 
Staying fit at 62 is a challenge, Goldstein says. “Skiing and bicycling clear my mind and allow me to come to work with a fresh slate.” A recent heliskiing excursion in British Columbia with his 16-year-old son Matthew presented another valuable lesson. “I learned
the most dangerous words in heliskiing: ‘Follow me, Dad.’”
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