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News in Brief

Aspen Times staff reportAspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS – Mountain Rescue Aspen members Tuesday will attempt to recover the body of a man who was killed in an avalanche Feb. 22, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said Monday.DiSalvo said rescuers on Monday began setting up equipment in a safe zone, located below Sand’s Chute, where Snowmass Village resident Brandon John Zukoff, 26, was killed. Monday’s preparations, which include making an approximate 1.5-mile trek on foot, will save about six hours of set-up time, DiSalvo said, adding he anticipates the recovery mission will begin at somewhere between 5:30-6 a.m. Tuesday when the snowpack is firm. Rescuers will be armed with heavy-duty probe polls and possibly a dog, among other equipment, DiSalvo said. There’s also the possibility a helicopter will be used, he said. DiSalvo estimated that fewer than 15 Mountain Rescue members will participate in the recovery mission.Zukoff, a native of Grand Blanc, Mich., was an avid backcountry skier. He died when he triggered an avalanche while skiing Sand’s Chute off the west side of Snowmass ski area. He was with two companions – one skied safely down the chute first, and the third one picked a new route after the slide caught Zukoff.All three had avalanche beacons. Zukoff’s beacon was recovered Thursday by Mountain Rescue members, after it was knocked loose from his person by two bomb-triggered avalanches, the second of which re-covered the body with snow and moved it as well, prompting officials to call off the recovery mission until the weather and conditions improved.

ASPEN – A Massachusetts woman sued the Aspen Skiing Co. Monday in Pitkin County District Court on allegations that one of its employees snowboarded into her while she was attending a coaches clinic at Buttermilk ski area.Linda Whittle, who was a Steamboat Springs resident at the time of the March 15, 2009 accident, claims that a lift operator slammed into her and a group of other coaches on the Westward Ho run at West Buttermilk. The employee “failed to see the six ski coaches and skied directly into the group,” the suit says, adding that the worker was visually inspecting the West Buttermilk lift at the time of the incident and “was negligent in the performance of his employment duties” with Skico.The suit says Whittle’s right knee was injured because of the incident, and she suffered “lost wages, medical expenses, physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life,” and other damages.Denver law firm Darling Milligan Smith & Lesch PC filed the suit.


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