Four people caught skiing in a closed area at Snowmass on Friday paid a steep price for their brief indulgence, reports the Aspen Times.
The four skiers became the first people to be fined $250 each for violating the Snowmass Village municipal code, forbidding people from skiing closed areas, said Snowmass Village Sgt. Dave Heivly. In addition, ski patrollers yanked ski passes from each offender, he said.
The first two, a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy both from Silt, were caught entering the KT Gully area in Snowmass about 10 a.m., around the same time ski patrol was using explosives for avalanche control, Heivly said. KT Gully was roped off and closed at the time because of the avalanche work, he said.
About 45 minutes later, two Brazilian men in their mid-30s entered the same area and were nabbed by ski patrollers, Heivly said.
With inbounds conditions like this, who needs to risk ducking ropes?
Snowmass Village police officers volunteer one day a week to work at the Snowmass Village Ski Area as security officers, he said. Ski patrol brought the four men to Heivly, who wrote them tickets, he said.
Until last month, the fine was $150, he said. In an effort to curb the problem, Snowmass Village Police Chief Brian Olson, in conjunction with the Town Council, raised it $100 effective Jan. 1, he said.
The Brazilians were heading home today, so they simply lost their day passes for Friday, Heivly said. The two teens had season passes and will have to meet the Snowmass Ski Patrol director to get their passes back, he said.
All four were remorseful and apologized for their actions, Heivly said.
Olson said that with all the snow deposited by the latest storm, avalanche danger was high and ski patrol was working hard to try and open areas safely.
“(Ducking ropes) is dangerous,” Olson said.
In light of recent avalanche fatalities, at Jackson Hole, WY and Revelstoke, BC this only highlights the danger of entering unsafe and/or unfamiliar terrain, and especially closed terrain. Resorts close areas off for your safety, to prevent terrible accidents like this occurring, to stop people who are unprepared or don’t have the ability, from getting out of their depth. We certainly support Aspen’s stance and hope it serves as a warning, where ever you ski, to stay within known safe areas.