Aspen Skiing Co. worker badly injured in snowmobile crash
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
SNOWMASS ” An Aspen Skiing Co. employee on a snowmobile was seriously hurt when he crashed into a tree on Snowmass Mountain in the early hours of Friday morning.
He was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction for treatment.
The man, whose identity was withheld by the Skico and area hospitals, was scheduled to work on a snowmaking crew from midnight to 8 a.m., according to the company.
But he reported for his shift a little early, and after he had “punched in but had not yet signed the controller’s log, he was asked to take a snowmobile to pick up another employee lower on the mountain,” according to a statement issued by the Skico.
The man never showed up to pick up the other employee, and Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the man waiting for the ride did not know who was coming to get him, and did not know to report the man 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 that another snowmaking crew member discovered the accident, on a run known as Upper Hal’s Hollow, and called the ski patrol at about 7 a.m.
The Skico statement described Upper Hal’s Hollow as “adjacent to the usual snowmobile route” up and down the mountain, and a reason the accident was not discovered earlier.
In declining to identify the injured man or describe his injuries, Hanle said he was following Skico policy to “not say anything about the individual until the family has told us to. It’s our assumption that friends [of the injured party] will find out through family, and not through the newspaper.”
Hanle said the Skico brass will conduct a review of the incident and “closely examine all our protocols” regarding check-ins by employees and management of the crew shifts.
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