On Saturday evening at approximately 7:00 pm, The Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a call about a lost snowboarder who had traveled out of bounds off of Aspen Mountain, CO, in the area of Ruthie’s Run. Additionally, it was reported that the lost snowboarder was also possibly injured. This lost snowboarder was later identified as a 39-year-old male from Aspen, CO.
When the Sheriff’s Office was notified of this lost snowboarder, the Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol had already been alerted to this situation. Additionally, shortly after this, Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) was notified of the need for rescuers to locate and rescue the lost snowboarder.
After numerous attempts to contact the lost snowboarder on his cell phone, and with the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center’s assistance, rescue personnel were eventually able to determine that the lost snowboarder was located in Keno Gulch off of Aspen Mountain, in the Castle Creek valley. At around 8:05 pm, members of the Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol and rescuers from MRA entered the field to search for the lost snowboarder.
At approximately 9:40 pm, rescuers were close enough to the lost snowboarder to make voice contact. It was determined that the snowboarder was cold and tired but otherwise uninjured. At 10:06 pm, rescuers made physical contact with the lost snowboarder and began to make their way downhill with him in the direction of the Aspen Country Day School off of Castle Creek Rd. This was a slow process due to the snowboarder’s intoxication and because of the very rugged terrain.
At 11:13 pm, rescuers with the snowboarder reached the bottom of the valley behind the Aspen Country Day School, where they were met by other MRA members and a Sheriff’s Deputy. By 11:40 pm, all rescuers and Ski Patrol members were out of the field, and the rescue incident was closed.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to use this opportunity to remind the public that backcountry travel during the winter can be dangerous under the best of circumstances; however, doing so alone and unprepared while under the influence of alcohol is a recipe for disaster.