Snowmass ski patrol hires Ryerson
December 19, 2007
ASPEN ” Former Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson started work Monday as a member of the ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Area.
The hiring comes after Ryerson resigned last month as chief of the Aspen Police Department following allegations that he sexually harassed female employees while on the job.
The city’s insurance carrier, the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency, launched an investigation Oct. 3 and found that Ryerson engaged in misconduct related to sexual harassment allegations. City Manager Steve Barwick offered Ryerson his job back Nov. 7, but Ryerson resigned two days later. On Monday, longtime Aspen Police Department employee Richard Pryor was named new police chief.
Meanwhile, Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle said the company did not consider the reason Ryerson left the police department when hiring him.
“He’s very qualified to do the job he’s doing,” Hanle said. “We’re certain he’ll be an asset to our patrol.”
The Skico isn’t the only one supporting Ryerson. After the allegations of sexual harassment surfaced, numerous local residents rallied to his support, writing letters to local newspapers and even taking out full-page advertisements.
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Ryerson’s new job is familiar territory for the Aspen resident. He worked on the patrol more than a decade ago, before he took up a police career. Ryerson also worked as an on-mountain ambassador for the last few years, handing out cookies and answering questions.
“He had an exemplary record on patrol,” Hanle said. “He has an exemplary record as an ambassador the last few years. He applied, was well qualified and so he was hired.”
A snowmobile patroller works mostly on the lower half of the mountain, assists other patrollers when they need help across the flats and helps transport injured people to the clinic more quickly. Hanle said Ryerson has completed the necessary outdoor emergency medical qualifications to work on patrol.
Ryerson applied for the job like anyone else, and Snowmass Patrol Director J. T. Weldon and Snowmass Mountain Manager Steve Sewell collectively made the decision to hire him.
“It was supported all the way to the top of the company,” Hanle said. “We were notified after he was hired. It was just like any other hire, really.”
Ryerson could not be reached for comment.