Aspen Digger, Inc. was formed in 1976 by Franz Stone, IV (a/k/a Jinx). It all started as a summer job for Jinx, who was an avid ski patroller at Snowmass ski area during the winter. The first piece of equipment he owned was a broken-down International TD-340 with no radiator that he got for free. After plenty of tinkering, he eventually got it running and started his very first job digging a complete basement under the Buckhorn Lodge in Aspen, the building that is now home to Domino’s Pizza and Johnny McGuire’s deli.
Jinx added equipment piece by piece over the years and began teaching his young son, Franz, to operate his first backhoe, an International 2500, at the early age of 8. As soon as he was able, Jinx began adding dump trucks to his fleet; his first dump truck was a 1957 Chevy single-axel with a 327 engine. Before long, he purchased his first hydraulic excavator, a Case 880.
Franz officially came to work for Aspen Digger in 1998. The company began operating year-round and added more employees. Franz also began contributing to the fleet, purchasing more excavators to expand operation. In 2002, Jinx left ski patrol and came to work for Aspen Digger full time. In 2003, Franz assumed a management role, hand-picking the best operators available, while Jinx oversaw the field operations. The Company began to grow rapidly in both capability and reputation.
In 2006, Jinx suffered a massive stroke while sailing in the Pacific Ocean. He fought his way back from near death and made a miraculous recovery. Jinx sold the company to Franz that year and became an employee for his son. Jinx now drives a dump truck and moves equipment for the company. When he is not working, you can find him sailing at Ruedi or enjoying time on his “Waterbed” (a 1973 Sea Camper) while always making sure that the company he conceived over 40 years ago remains true to its roots.