Aspen Skiing Co. Employee Rescued After Being Carried and Buried by Avalanche on Saturday

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The green star denotes the burial point. Credit: CAIC

An avalanche on Saturday in the Aspen Mountain Powder Tours permit area on Richmond Ridge, CO carried a skier 20-yards and left him buried at the base of a tree, according to a CAIC report. The skier, who was unharmed after being rescued by his skiing partner, is an Aspen Skiing Co. employee and was scouting terrain prior to the season opener at the time. SkiCo operates the powder tours, which opened for the season Sunday.

The report states the incident occurred as the two “were traversing one at a time out of McFarlane’s [a section of Richmond Ridge]. Skier one [released] the toe of the skier’s left side of the B Nose. He was carried 20 yards or so and buried at the base of a tree. Skier two performed a beacon search on the slide track. Located the burial site, probed and dug out.”

The avalanche danger on Saturday was rated as “considerable at all locations,” and conditions were ranked level 3 out of a possible five levels. The CAIC report states that the avalanche was reported on a 35-degree slope with a northeast aspect at 10,500 feet.

Jeff Hanle, SkiCo vice president of communications also noted that on Saturday, “a snowboarder on Aspen Mountain triggered a small inbounds slide in a closed area.” It was discovered by ski patrol around 4 pm when patrol was doing its sweep of the mountain.

“The slide was not witnessed and occurred in the closed area between Northstar and the Gent’s Ridge chair. Patrol searched the slide area with probes, beacons, and dogs as a precaution,” Hanle said. “If you are involved in or aware of a slide please notify ski patrol so they know everyone is safely out.”

CAIC reports that so far in Colorado this season, seven people have been caught in avalanches, though most are what he categorized as “on the small side”, and this latest incident has resulted in the first reported burial of the season.

The men who were involved in Saturday’s Richmond Ridge incident were prepared with avalanche beacons, shovels, probes and each other.


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