On Saturday, 4/17/2021, at approximately 11:40 am, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office was notified by Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol of two skiers who had skied “out-of-bounds” at the base of Walsh’s ski run. Walsh’s is a Double Black ski run at the Eastern ski area boundary on Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colorado.
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After communicating with the father of one of the subjects, rescuers learned that two male skiers, 55 and 57 years old, respectively, were reported to be in good spirits, healthy, and had no known medical conditions. Shortly thereafter, Aspen Mountain Ski patrol verified that there were two fresh ski tracks leading underneath the ski area boundary. However, without a confirmed need for help, Ski Patrol was instructed not to follow the tracks.
Pitkin County Deputies notified Volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen, and together, they mobilized a ground team to attempt contact near the bottom of the mountain near North Star preserve. Crews made cell phone contact with the out-of-bounds skiers, and instructions were given to proceed down the tight and narrow ravine.
At approximately 2:25 PM, visual contact was established with the skiers. Mountain rescue teams made contact with both skiers a short while after. Mountain Rescue escorted the skiers across the wildlife refuge, through the river, and back safely to awaiting volunteers staged at the highway. All team members and volunteers were safely out of the field by 04:45 PM.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public to follow direction from the Ski Areas and not venture out of bounds unless you are prepared for backcountry conditions, are aware of all the risks involved, and have a good knowledge and understanding of the area and the route you are skiing.