In Brief: Backcountry rescue; leader panel for Women’s History Month |

In Brief: Backcountry rescue; leader panel for Women’s History Month

Staff Report

Backcountry skier, injured, rescued near Benedict Hut

A 53-year-old female backcountry skier was injured and rescued on Wednesday about a mile from Benedict Hut, a 10th Mountain Division Hut on Smuggler Mountain, the Pitkin Sheriff’s Office reported.

The Sheriff’s Office was alerted at 11:37 a.m., and officials said deputies were contacted via Garmin inReach to establish her injuries and exact location. The skier said she was unable to move.

At 1:03 p.m., Mountain Rescue Aspen deployed a team of 11 members and six snowmobiles from the CB Cameron Rescue Center to the base of Smuggler Mountain to evacuate the injured skier. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office also deployed two deputies on snowmobiles to assist.

At 1:19 p.m., rescuers made contact with the injured skier and her party. The rescue team began evacuating the injured skier via snowmobile. All rescue personnel, the injured skier, as well as the injured skier’s party arrived safely at the base of Smuggler Mountain by 1:53 p.m. At that time, the injured skier declined further medical attention and departed from the trailhead in a private vehicle, officials said. All rescue teams were out of the field by 2:11 p.m.

Panelist discussion features local leaders

For Women’s History Month, The Collective in Snowmass Base Village will feature a conversation with some of the valley’s top leaders during “Women Who Lead: A Panel Discussion” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 9.

Panelists include Mawa McQueen, owner of Mawita, Mawa’s Kitchen and The Crepe Shack; Allison Pattillo, freelance writer and publisher of The Aspen Times; Alya Howe, founder of Writ Large and the Performing Arts Umbrella; and Courtney Sanders, founder of the Bipolar Divine, an organization dedicated to helping those with bipolar disorder.

The event will feature leadership tips, best practices, and anecdotes of how these women started their professional careers that led them to where they are today. Complimentary champagne and light appetizers will be included, plus a small gift while supplies last.

“We’re so fortunate to have so many women in the community who are willing to share their insights and celebrate the strength of women during Women’s History Month,” said Snowmass Base Village Plaza and Events Manager Sara Sanders. “These are just a few ladies that help make our community successful and vibrant through their leadership and willingness to work with the community. It will be an evening of shared experiences and leadership tips on how they strive to make our valley a special place to live and work.”

Mawa McQueen

Chef Mawa is a restaurateur and entrepreneur who is unapologetic about her African, French, and American roots. Her flagship restaurant, Mawa’s Kitchen in Aspen, is a favorite spot for locals and seasonal visitors, and her new restaurant, Mawita, in Snowmass Base Village, is elevating the culinary scene of Snowmass. During the event, she’ll unveil her new cookbook, “Mawa’s Way,” celebrating her culinary adventures and recipes. She also was a 2022 semi-finalist for the James Beard Awards “Best Chef” Mountain Region; featured in the cookbook “Toque in Black: ‘Savor’ The Extraordinary Diversity of Black Chefs,” which highlights 101 of America’s most talented chefs; and has received the Colorado Governor’s Minority Business Award for McQueen Hospitality.

Allison Pattillo

Pattillo is the publisher of The Aspen Times. Her career has ranged from freelance journalism to being the director of a non-profit and running a café and gourmet store. She alternately has led teams of up to 125 people and worked alone. However, she said she prefers the dynamic energy of a good team, like the one at The Aspen Times. She’ll share how leading is about listening, getting to know your team, and always having snacks to share.

Alya Howe

For the past 10 years, Howe, founder of Writ Large and the Performing Arts Umbrella, has been bringing valley residents and others to the stage to tell their stories, perform, and become confident. She believes a community without narrative to tell won’t survive as a community. She’ll share why having a heartfelt narrative to tell makes all the difference for an individual, a family, or a community.

Courtney Sanders

Hosting the event, Sanders works in events in the valley. In 2019, she founded her passion project, The Bipolar Divine, a website providing resources she found helpful in living with bipolar disorder. She said she is passionate about sharing her experiences because when she was going through the worst of it, she wished there was a voice of reason she could resonate with.

This is the third event in the Women Who Lead series, which is a networking event for women in the valley interested in meeting other driven business-focused women. RSVP by emailing

For additional information or details on activities and events at The Collective Snowmass and The Rink, visit

Virtual presentation on hip arthritis

On Wednesday, March 1, at 6 p.m., ValleyOrtho will present “Hip Arthritis and Treatment,” a virtual discussion via Zoom with orthopedic joint revision surgeon Daniel O’Connor, MD. The presentation is part of Valley View University, a series of free educational webinars hosted by Valley View.

Hip arthritis is a painful and often debilitating disease that affects millions of adults. In this 30-minute webinar, followed by an open Q&A, hewill explain causes of this degenerative joint disease as well as non-surgical and surgical treatments available to keep people living an active life.

Spotted owl proposed for threatened list in Sierra Nevada

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the California spotted-owl population in the Sierra Nevada as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency has determined that the California spotted owl is comprised of two geographically- and genetically-distinct population segments, the Coastal-Southern California population and the Sierra Nevada population. The agency is proposing to list the Coastal-Southern California population as endangered and the Sierra Nevada population as threatened.

As part of this proposed listing, the FWS is including a rule for the Sierra Nevada owls that exempts the prohibition of take under the Endangered Species Act for forest-fuels management activities that reduce the risk of large-scale, high-severity wildfire.

“Our goal is to help the California spotted owl recover across its range,” said Michael Fris, field supervisor of the agency’s Sacramento FWS Office. “Ongoing collaboration with a number of partners will result in positive conservation gains and put this species on the road to recovery.”

Cerveza, no firearms, on tap at Boebert’s old restaurant

Cerveza, margaritas, and enchiladas rancheras are coming to a downtown Rifle spot that formerly dished out burgers and fries by pistol-packing servers.

Tapatios of New Castle is currently in the process of opening a new location inside the vacant downtown Rifle storefront that used to house Shooters Grill. The former Shooters was owned by Silt Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

Rifle City Council on Feb. 15 unanimously approved a hotel and liquor license for Tapatios. Floor plans submitted with the liquor-license application show the new restaurant creating a large indoor seating area, a patio section out front, and full sitting bar.

“It’s a family restaurant,” Tapatio owner Esmeralda Cornejo told City Council members after the approval.

The former Shooters, which never served alcohol, opened in May 2013 and closed in July 2022 when building owner Milkin Enterprises, LLC — which also owns cannabis dispensary Rifle Remedies — opted not to renew Boebert’s lease.

Parking outage leads to free parking and losses for town of Vail

A number of lucky skiers, guests, and residents got free parking in Vail on Saturday, Feb. 4, when the town experienced an outage of its parking system.

The town experienced a widespread outage of the credit-card processor used for its parking operations. The town is estimating it lost approximately $50,000 in revenue when the system was down.

Greg Hall, the town’s director of public works and transportation, reported on Feb. 7 that Windcave, the credit-card processor used by the town’s parking systems, had experienced a “worldwide” outage.

All in, the system was down for around six hours, he said.