Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

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January 2, 2013
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Celebration of Patsy Hileman's life is Saturday

SNOWMASS - A celebration of Patsy Hileman's life will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Elk Camp restaurant at Snowmass, Aspen Skiing Co. announced Wednesday.

Uploading on the Elk Camp Gondola will begin at 5 p.m., Skico said. "Wear pink and bring your best Patsy stories," the announcement said. The celebration will continue at Sneaky's Tavern after the Elk Camp gathering.

Hileman, 49, of Snowmass Village, was a Snowmass patroller killed while working Sunday. She was skiing alone in the Ship's Prow Glades, a permanently closed area in the vast Hanging Valley Wall area. She triggered a small avalanche and was swept over a cliff, according to Skico. She died from blunt-force trauma to her body, the Pitkin County Coroner's Office said.

Skico is conducting an internal investigation of the accident, according to spokesman Jeff Hanle. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also is conducting an investigation.

"Any time there is an occupational fatality, OSHA does an investigation," said Herb Gibson, area director in OSHA's Denver-area office. "We want to make sure there were no violations of federal laws."

The U.S. Department of Labor has general rules for occupational safety but nothing specific to ski patrollers, Gibson said.

The open investigation will examine programs and documents relating to worker safety at Snowmass, Gibson said. An investigator was at the ski area Monday and Tuesday interviewing personnel, he said.

The fact that there is an investigation doesn't necessarily mean there was a safety violation, according to Gibson. The investigation will likely take "several months," he said, because it is more thorough when there is a death.


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The Aspen Times Updated Jan 3, 2013 06:28AM Published Jan 2, 2013 10:49PM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.