Skip to contents

Man who delighted Vail apres-ski crowds for decades dies from coronavirus; El Paso County man also killed by disease

Rod Powell, who delighted apres-ski crowds for decades, died on Saturday. An El Paso County man in his 70s was also killed by the virus, meaning that at least six people in Colorado have died from the disease.

By Randy Wyrick, The Vail Daily

Vail entertainment icon Rod Powell died Saturday of complications from coronavirus. Friends said he also suffered from COPD and diabetes. (Vail Daily file photo)

The pandemic sweeping the globe has claimed the life of a Vail musical icon.

Rod Powell, who delighted apres-ski crowds for decades in Vail with his musical talents, died on Saturday morning from complications of the new coronavirus. He is the fifth person in Colorado to be killed by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

On Saturday night, El Paso County Public Health announced the state’s sixth death — a man in his 70s — from the coronavirus. Details on that case were not released.

“Rod Powell was a legend in Vail and brought joy to so many over his tenure as Vail’s #1 Entertainer,” Shannon Tanner, his longtime friend and fellow musician said in a mass email.

See The Colorado Sun’s complete coronavirus coverage.

Powell, who played for decades at Pepi’s and other watering holes around Vail, was the first to welcome Tanner as a “kid entertainer” from South Carolina.

“I learned much from Rod Powell … his friendship I treasured. There is a Hole in the World today,” Tanner said.

Eagle County Public Health and Environment sent out a news release confirming the death on Saturday afternoon.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are confirming the loss of one of our community members from COVID-19. We are extremely saddened by the news and extend our deepest condolences to the family,” said Heath Harmon, director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment. “The news of this loss in our community serves as a solemn reminder that COVID-19 can pose greater risks to some members of our community, in particular older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions. We must all take steps to protect our families, ourselves, our friends and our community.”

The release indicated Powell had underlying health conditions and died at a Denver-area hospital. 


U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, whose district includes the Vail Valley, on Saturday called Powell a vibrant part of the Vail community and noted that Eagle County has experienced “the full force of this public health crisis.

“I urge everyone to continue to comply with the guidance of our state and local health departments, to make wise and practical decisions and to stay safe throughout this public health crisis,” Neguse wrote. “We are resilient, and we will get through this together.” 


The Colorado Sun contributed to this report.