A tour guide with Aspen Mountain Powder Tours is safe after being caught in an avalanche on Thursday morning. The guide was able to stay above the snow, but was carried over 400 feet. No other skiers were caught in the avalanche.
“He was never submersed in the avalanche, but did get swept through some trees and suffered a knee injury,” says guide Greg Shaffran in his report with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Fortunately, an Aspen ski patroller was working nearby digging avalanche pits, and was able to bring the injured guide down to receive further care.
The avalanche occurred on the north face of an area called McFarlane’s on the back side of Aspen Mountain, a run also known as “Happy Face”. The cat-guided powder tour group was on their sixth run in that area, and their third on the northeast face. Another guide said there were no signs of instability on the slope during their previous runs.
“The person who triggered (the avalanche) was the 5th person to ski the slope, and when he did the fracture propagated aprox. 20 feet to his left, 20 feet uphill, and 100 feet-plus off to the skiers right,” said Shaffran.
The avalanche was 200ft across, and ran 700ft downhill.