Nancy Pfister and her daughter Juliana
Courtesy Juliana Pfister
Liz McNeil and Ken Lee
03/13/2014 at 04:00 PM EDT
A New Age spirit with an Old World bank account, Nancy Pfister often told people, "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly."
To her friends in the small Colorado ski community of Aspen [population: 6,600], those words also aptly described the ski mountain heiress
, who loved to party, travel and cultivate friendships up and down the social ladder.
"She didn't care if you were a busboy or a movie star," says author Michael Cleverly, a longtime friend.
A former girlfriend of actor Michael Douglas, Pfister, 57, counted Jack Nicholson, Woody Harrelson and Goldie Hawn among her friends.
"Kate [Hudson] was kind of a big sister to me when I was really little," says Juliana Pfister, 28, her only child. Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson "babysat me a bunch of times."
Gregarious and adventurous, says Cleverly, "Nancy knew how to have fun better than anyone I have ever known."