Snowboarders OK after inbounds avalanche at Aspen Highlands |

Snowboarders OK after inbounds avalanche at Aspen Highlands

Sunrise on Highland Bowl and Aspen Highlands ski area outside of Aspen.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times file photo

Two snowboarders caught in an avalanche Friday on an open ski run at Aspen Highlands emerged with the help of a skier who dug out one buried in snow up to his waist, while the other rider had an injured ankle but was not submerged.

Aspen Skiing Co. issued a statement Friday afternoon and said all terrain in Deep Temerity and Steeplechase was closed for the remainder of the day after the incident and the closure will likely extend into Christmas Day for more avalanche-control work.

Highlands reported 12 inches of snowfall over 24 hours, as of 7:17 a.m. Friday. Heavy snow fell through most of Friday as well.

“Shortly after 12 noon today, Friday, December 24, a skier reported an avalanche in the Mushroom area to the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol,” the Skico statement said. “The skier encountered two snowboarders in the slide and helped dig one out who was buried to his waist. The other snowboarder had an injured ankle, but was not buried. Patrol responded immediately, swept the area with avalanche rescue dogs and began probing the area. Members of the public also been assisting with probes. At at approximately 2:15 p.m. the incident was cleared and all searchers left the field. All-terrain in Deep Temerity and Steeplechase was closed for the day after the incident. With additional snow expected tonight expect delayed openings as control work takes place in the morning.”

The black-diamond Mushroom run is located in the Deep Temerity area on the mountain’s upper third. It is seven-tenths of a mile long, and drops from 11,563 feet to 9,863 feet.

Support Local Journalism

With snow hammering elevations above 9,000 feet overnight Thursday, an avalanche warning was issued for the Aspen area at 6 a.m. Friday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The warning is set to expire midnight Sunday and it is geared toward backcountry users.

“An Avalanche Warning is in effect for most of the mountains in Colorado,” the center’s website said Friday. “Heavy snow and strong winds are creating very dangerous avalanche conditions. Expect very large avalanches to run naturally and long distances on Friday. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.”

Support Local Journalism