Highlands powder poachers nabbed | AspenTimes.com

Highlands powder poachers nabbed

Aspen Times Staff Report

Three skiers who ventured into closed areas of the Highland Bowl yesterday were apprehended by patrollers at Aspen Highlands and later arrested by Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputies.

The skiers, whose identities were not available yesterday from county authorities, went beyond clearly marked “closed” sign to ski an area of the Highland Bowl known as “White Kitchen,” according to Kevin Heinecken, snow safety supervisor at Highlands.

All three “poachers” were day-ticket holders, Heinecken said. To date, two other skiers – also day-ticket holders – have been arrested this season for skiing in closed sections of the bowl.

“We’ve been busting our asses to open terrain up there, and we really wish people would respect our closures because they’re all for good reason,” Heinecken said. “And we have to be pretty serious about closures, because we’re determined not to have any accidents out here.”

“[Poachers] are certainly jeopardizing are plans for opening more terrain in the bowl next year, especially if somebody gets hurt,” he continued. “If this keeps up, it’s going to make things a lot more difficult for us.”

Patrollers led a tour of avalanche gear-equipped participants into White Kitchen yesterday morning, Heinecken said, and set off a small avalanche.

“One of our patrollers triggered it while ski cutting the slope down fairly low – nobody was hurt,” he said. “But we certainly wouldn’t have wanted someone in the skiing public to have been in that situation.”

Skiers caught in closed areas of any of Aspen’s four mountains are in violation of the Skier Safety Act, a petty offense that typically carries a modest fine.

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