Leon “Slim” Weston. A Grand Targhee legend will be greatly missed. The famous backrubs and comforting smile he gave in lift lines cannot ever be replaced. On February 11, Teton Valley lost a friend and an icon. He knew no strangers and made friends with every face who met him at the chairlift. Slim devoted 45 winters to Grand Targhee with impeccable work ethic, contagious energy, and a happy demeanor that could not be ignored. Weston was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 and fought courageously for years, even working at the mountain a few days on the very week he passed. He lived outside of Driggs and was a simple man: a rancher and a cowboy….and a snowboarder! You could spot him from deep in the lift line. He donned sunglasses and his signature piece: his black cowboy hat. Regardless if the temps were plunging below zero with a bitter wind chill, or approaching 40 degrees and sun, he would have on the hat.
My husband and I were recently sitting down to dinner and reflecting on our childhood years skiing, when we were lucky enough to raise hell cascading down the slopes of the ‘Ghee. Back then, it was not the fancy high-speed quad known as “DC.” It was the slow moving chair named Bannock. The lift line started as an unorganized mass of skiers and as you inched forward, lifties such as Slim would organize you into straight line of four. As you waited to advance to your chair, Slim would stand on the peripheral, and with perfect execution and almost no effort, successfully “rope” the tips of everyone’s skis with his lasso; grinning all the while. I ask you this: why would you ski anywhere else? And now we face a loss – as our own children will most likely never encounter a more colorful and loving character such as the one we knew in Slim.
To properly honor, celebrate, and remember Weston, an open invitation to ride the DreamCatcher lift and take one final run accompanied by a torchlight parade was held on February 22, 2014 in memoriam.