Rescuers locate lost, intoxicated snowboarder in Castle Creek valley

Snowboarder ventured out of bounds near Ruthie’s Run at Aspen Mountain

A team from Mountain Rescue Aspen and Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol found and rescued a lost snowboarder Saturday evening in Keno Gulch in the Castle Creek valley after the 39-year-old Aspen man ventured out of bounds near Ruthie’s Run at Aspen Mountain earlier in the day, according to a news release.

The man was intoxicated, cold and tired but not injured when rescuers found him in rugged terrain, the release states.

The Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a call at approximately 7:02 p.m. notifying them of a lost snowboarder who was possibly injured outside the ski area boundary; ski patrol was already aware of the situation, and Mountain Rescue Aspen was notified shortly thereafter of the need to assist in locating and rescuing the man.

Rescuers made “numerous attempts to contact the lost snowboarder on his cellphone,” the release states. Those efforts, with assistance from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, helped locate the snowboarder in Keno Gulch.

Members of ski patrol and Mountain Rescue Aspen entered the field around 8:05 p.m. and were able to make voice contact around 9:37 p.m. Rescuers made physical contact at 10:06 p.m. and headed downhill toward the Aspen Country Day School, a return made slower by the snowboarder’s intoxication and rugged terrain, according to the release.

The team met a Sheriff’s Deputy and additional Mountain Rescue members in the valley behind the school around 11:13 p.m. and all personnel were out of the field by 11:40 p.m.

“The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to use this opportunity to remind the public that backcountry travel during the winter can be dangerous under the best of circumstances; however, doing so alone and unprepared while under the influence of alcohol is a recipe for disaster,” the release states.

Also Saturday, a skier ventured out of bounds off the Ruthie’s Run and got “out of sorts,” requiring a ski patrol escort back into the ski area boundary, according to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Grant Jahnke. That incident was “pretty minor overall” and did not require the deployment of Mountain Rescue Aspen members, Jahnke said.


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