Snowmass ski worker dies from injuries in snowmobile crash
December 18, 2008
ASPEN ” An Aspen Skiing Co. employee died from injuries he suffered in a snowmobile accident on Snowmass Mountain earlier this month.
Tim Riley, a 19-year-old member of the Skico snowmaking crew, died Wednesday night at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said in a statement Thursday that Riley was working on the day of the accident.
“We offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and will keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” Hanle said.
Riley was scheduled to work on a snowmaking crew from midnight to 8 a.m., Dec. 5, Skico said.
He apparently reported early for his shift, and after he had “punched in but had not yet signed the controller’s log, [Riley] was asked to take a snowmobile to pick up another employee lower on the mountain,” according to a previous statement issued by Skico.
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Riley never showed up to get the other employee, and Hanle said the man waiting for the ride did not know who was coming for him. He also did not know to report him missing.
“While [the injured employee] was gone, there was a full shift change and the incoming shift controller and crew were unaware that he was on the mountain,” the Skico statement continued.
“Calls to his cell phone were not answered, the controller’s log was checked and the crew incorrectly assumed he did not report for work.”
Hanle said another snowmaking crew member discovered the accident, on a run known as Upper Hal’s Hollow, and called the ski patrol about 7 a.m. Riley was immediately taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, then airlifted to St. Mary’s.
He was the second person to die this ski season, locally. Cory Brettmann, 52, of Old Snowmass, was found dead Dec. 14 at the bottom of an avalanche outside the ski-area boundary on Aspen Mountain.
The avalanche, in the Power Line area, was about 100 yards long and 30 yards wide, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said.