News in Brief
October 24, 2006
The Pitkin County commissioners recommended compromise on the Richmond Ridge backcountry ski area during a work session Tuesday.Working with members of the Community Development Department, Public Works and Open Space and Trails, county commissioners are drafting a list of recommendations for a number of public lands under the White River Forest Travel Management Plan. Commissioners will send their recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service on Thursday.The most contested area was the popular Richmond Ridge, on public lands near the back of Aspen Mountain. The Aspen Skiing Co. has exclusive motorized access to the area and shuttles clients there by snowmobile. Powder to the People, a group of backcountry skiers, opposes the Skico monopoly.Commissioners worry that the land is overused and there isn’t enough parking along county roads.The board recommended an administrative order for limited expansion of access to Richmond Ridge by motorized vehicles. An administrative order is more flexible than writing the rules into the travel plan, and the order could be amended in the future to meet conditions. The board asked the Skico and Powder to the People to come to some agreement over access.Powder to the People president Michael Sladdin wants full access to the area. The Skico conceded unlimited motorized access along McFarland Road, but Sladdin was hoping for more.Bob Perlmutter, who manages backcountry powder tours in the area for the Skico, said amendments prohibiting access to Richmond Ridge have been enforced only recently.Perlmutter and Sladdin agreed there is room for further discussion, and Perlmutter said it was good to get those concerned to the table, adding that it was the closest thing to a “definitive statement” that the board had made on Richmond Ridge.
VAIL – A 32-year-old Vail man died Tuesday afternoon of apparent natural causes while skinning up Shrine Ridge near Vail Pass.The man’s name was being withheld Tuesday night at the request of his family, said Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson. He worked at Vail Bike Tech in Lionshead, Richardson said.The man was skiing with a partner on Shrine Ridge, in the backcountry west of Vail Pass, apparently with the intention of skiing down Shrine Bowl, said Joe Ben Slivka of Summit County Rescue Group.His friend was skinning up ahead of him and noticed the man wasn’t behind him, Slivka said. The partner waited for him about 20 minutes, and skied down to find him face-down on the snow, Richardson said. The friend called 911 at 3:27 p.m. and said the man was unconscious and not breathing, Slivka said. The friend also performed CPR on the man, Richardson said.Cell-phone technology was used to locate the men, and a Flight for Life helicopter out of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center was first to reach them, Slivka said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Slivka said.The man collapsed about 3 to 4 miles west of Vail Pass, said Michael Schmitt of Summit County Rescue GroupThere was no signs of trauma and the man is believed to have died of natural causes, Slivka said.An autopsy will be conducted later this week, Richardson said. (Vail Daily)