Aspen Country Day School apologizes for missing student, cases of frost-nip on recent outdoor ed trip |

Aspen Country Day School apologizes for missing student, cases of frost-nip on recent outdoor ed trip

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

A fourth-grade Aspen Country Day School student went missing for a period of time on a backcountry ski trip earlier this month as part of the school’s longstanding outdoor-education program.

In a newsletter sent last week to parents, faculty and trustees, Aspen County Day School also reported that three students suffered windburn and frost nip from the trip.

“We want to repeat our sincere apologies for distress that events on the fourth grade outdoor-ed trip Feb. 7 to 8 caused the families of students involved,” the school said Friday in a second letter. “This has been a learning experience for our school community, and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that trips continue to be safe, meaningful and joyful for all children.”

On the morning of Feb. 7, 25 students and five adults left for the Shrine Mountain Inn huts near Vail Pass, according to the statement from the school.

The weather was windy and cold, and the majority of students and two chaperones turned around and headed home that afternoon, while the remaining eight students and three chaperones continued on to the hut.

“As this group approached the hut, visibility worsened and one child became separated from the group. She remained on the trail and was discovered by a backcountry skier who was passing by,” the statement reads. “This helpful skier led the child to the hut where she was reunited with her group.”

The eight students and three chaperones spent the night at the hut and returned home the following day.

When reached Friday afternoon, Aspen Country Day School director of communications Carolyn Hines said, they “don’t exactly know” how long the child was separated from the group.

Asked about the cases of frost nip and windburn, Hines said the students’ parents informed the school when they returned home after the trip.

“We can’t make a medical diagnosis, so it’s been up to the parents to let us know about that,” she said.

Hines declined further comment and pointed to the school newsletter for any additional information.

The letter sent Friday, signed by head of school Josh Wolman and board of trustees chair Soledad Hurst, states: “Based on a full analysis of the trip, the board’s risk management committee recommended a series of new policies and procedures that were unanimously approved at the Wednesday meeting of the board of trustees.”

Those policies include the addition a “go/no-go checklist” and an evaluation from a “third-party consultant that specializes in risk management.”