Mountain Rescue finds overdue skiers safe and sound in second event of week |

Mountain Rescue finds overdue skiers safe and sound in second event of week

Staff report

For the second time in two days, Mountain Rescue Aspen went into the field Tuesday for a report of backcountry skiers allegedly running into trouble on a hut trip.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday about two overdue skiers in the Gold Hill area on Richmond Ridge, 16 miles south of Aspen. The caller, who identified herself as a friend of one the skiers, was calling from Aspen and reported that the two overdue skiers failed to show up at the Goodwin-Greene Hut with the rest of their group Monday night. When the two skiers failed to show up Tuesday, the caller left the hut and reported the skiers as overdue.

Seventeen members from Mountain Rescue Aspen began to mobilize, and Wednesday, two teams of two Mountain Rescue Aspen rescuers entered the field on snowmobiles in search of the skiers. A plane with a spotter also was sent up in order to try to locate tracks from the air. Members of the Gunnison County search and rescue team also was beginning to form search teams by Wednesday morning.

Around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday Mountain Rescue Aspen encountered the overdue skiers at the Goodwin-Greene Hut. The skiers had veered off-course Monday and spent the night at the Barnard Hut and then reached the Goodwin-Greene Hut late in the day Tuesday — after the party that reported them as overdue had departed.

Mountain Rescue Aspen also was called Monday on a report of a skier who allegedly skied into avalanche-prone terrain while headed to Opa’s Hut south of Taylor Pass. His two companions were unfamiliar with the route he was taking. They turned around and called authorities. Mountain Rescue Aspen flew in a fixed-wing aircraft and spotted the man at Opa’s Hut. No further assistance was required.

The members of the all-volunteer Mountain Rescue Aspen recommended in a statement Wednesday that skiers follow well-established routes and learn about the terrain they will be traveling in before beginning their trek. Additionally, Mountain Rescue Aspen recommends that skiing partners stay together and not separate until all skiers arrive at their destination or return to the trailhead.

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