Albert Johnson - Sport Builder - 1977


Hall
Al Johnson, a native Canadian, was a superb skier before he came to Crystal, Colorado in 1880 to prospect for silver. Al became the legendary skier of the “Snowshoe Express.”  He was Crystal's first postmaster and carried the weekly mail and supplies between the mining communities of Crystal and Crested Butte on eleven foot long snowshoes (skis). His mail run was a dangerous trek through the narrow Crystal Canyon and its infamous steep walled (27% grade) Devil's Punchbowl and over 10,700 foot high Schofield Pass of the Gunnison Country. When Crystal became a near ghost town around the turn of the century, Al left. Where he went and if he ever came back to his beloved mining camp in the Rocky Mountains is not known. However, he was a living legend during his twenty years in Crystal. Today he is still that legend – in man's eyes, he still can be seen, in a racer's tuck, the fifty pound mail sack on his back, his eyes squinting against the bright sun, and his scarf waving in the breeze as he rockets down the narrow trail in Crystal Canyon at speeds of sixty miles an hour on the last leg of his homeward journey carrying the “Snowshoe Express.”  (Deceased)