Californian Men Arrested for Skiing in Closed Area at Aspen, CO Just 90-Mins Before Avalanche Killed Man in Same Area

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Aspen’s Highland Bowl. Credit: Aspen

Three men were lucky they were caught and escaped with just a fine when Snowmass Village police arrested them on Sunday for skiing in an area that was closed due to avalanche danger. Just an hour and a half later a Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteer died in an avalanche in the same area, reports the Aspen Times.

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John Galvin, 57, was killed Sunday in an avalanche in Maroon Bowl just outside of Aspen’s Highland Bowl. He was a 30-year veteran of the Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteer search-and-rescue group.

A ski patroller on a lift saw two men about 1 pm on the Rock Island run and confirmed the area was closed because of possible avalanches and went into the area and confronted the men, said Sgt. Dave Heivly. The three men admitted to ducking a rope to get into the area.

All three men, Theren Raufman, 26, of Santa Monica, California; Justin Jones, 24, of Palos Verdes, California; and Christopher Corley, 27, of Carbondale were each given a $250 ticket and kicked off the mountain, Heivly said. John Galvin of MRA was killed about 2:30 pm Sunday in an avalanche in Maroon Bowl, located next to Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands.

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Is it worth risking your life for a few powder turns, especially when you can find it inbounds? Credit: Aspen

On Monday, officers arrested a fourth man for skiing in a closed area, this time in Snowmass’ KT Gully area, which was closed for avalanche mitigation, Heivly said. Ski patrollers were using explosives in the area about 2:30 pm and had an explosive ready to go when they saw Joshua Attenborough, 22, of Aspen enter the area, he said.

Attenborough also admitted ducking a rope to get into the area, but told ski patrollers he thought the area was simply closed for the day and didn’t know about the explosives, Heivly said. He also was ticketed and kicked off the mountain.
The resort announced earlier this season that they would be massively increasing the fine, and pulling passes, for ducking ropes as a deterrent to people thinking it’s cool to ski in unsafe, or dangerous roped off areas.

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3 thoughts on “Californian Men Arrested for Skiing in Closed Area at Aspen, CO Just 90-Mins Before Avalanche Killed Man in Same Area

  1. Is the inference that the california skiers weakened the layer or created a stress point that released 90 min later when ski hikers were on the slope adding a percentage of trigger?

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