‘It felt like a miracle’: Denver woman finds lost wedding ring at Snowmass this fall | AspenTimes.com

‘It felt like a miracle’: Denver woman finds lost wedding ring at Snowmass this fall

For the past three years, Sarah Barnett has been visiting Snowmass with her husband, Taylor.

The Denver couple usually stays at Taylor’s family’s home in the village at least a few days each winter, fall and spring, where Taylor has been visiting ever since he was a kid.

But Sarah and Taylor’s most recent trip to Snowmass Village this fall was different than most, as it led to an unexpected discovery at the ski area: Sarah’s wedding ring, which she’d lost last season while snowboarding on the Dallas Freeway run and found again on a day hike more than six months later.

“We hiked up there with a metal detector and were like there’s no way, there was so much shrub and grass and it was hard to use a metal detector in there,” Sarah said. “So we were turning around and just doing sweeps with the metal detector on our way down and on our second sweep I thought I hit a shrub but my husband looked down and it was just sitting there. … We were so lucky.”

During a recent phone conversation with the Snowmass Sun, Sarah explained that last March was the first time she’d snowboarded at Snowmass since the birth of her now 10-month-old son. She and her husband were turning down the Dallas Freeway run when Sarah said she fell in a choppy section.

“I had just fallen and was shaking the snow out of my glove and was standing back up when I caught an edge again, fell backwards and felt my rings fly off because my glove was off,” Sarah said.

She stopped where she was and spent the next hour looking for the wedding rings. Snowmass Ski Patrol helped the Barnetts search, bringing out a metal detector to sweep the area.

Sarah was able to find her engagement ring, which she was grateful for, but said her wedding band had a greater significance and was something she wasn’t going to give up looking for so easily.

Sarah and Taylor returned the next day to search for the wedding band but to no avail. It was right before the COVID-19 crisis hit, and soon Snowmass was forced to shut down along with all of the other Colorado ski resorts to mitigate the spread of the virus. The search was put on hold until late September.

Sarah isn’t the only one who has lost a piece of jewelry at Snowmass Ski Area — according to Aspen Skiing Co. estimates, the number of personal items lost over a typical winter season and that staff ends up with is in the thousands, breaking down to roughly 100 phones (about 75% are able to be returned), 25 pairs of lost or misplaced skis, 20 GoPros, 50 pieces of jewelry, 25 pairs of glasses and 100 licenses and credit cards.

“We do our best to return items to their owners and a majority of the items do get returned, especially the more expensive ones like phones, GoPros, credit cards, skis, etc.,” an Aspen Skiing Co. spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

And although Sarah’s ring wasn’t found before the Snowmass Ski Area closed last March and she knew Taylor and the rest of their family was skeptical of her finding it, Sarah convinced Taylor to go out with her Sept. 20 to search for the missing wedding band on foot.

“I think my husband thought I was crazy as well as everyone else,” Sarah said, laughing. “So I kind of sprung it on him the night before when we didn’t have anything to do the next day. … I was like let’s just go see.”

Armed with rented metal detectors and Sarah’s iPhone — which had the pinned location of where she lost her wedding rings in March — the Barnetts hiked to the Dallas Freeway run in hopes of finding the wedding band.

After about 30 minutes of hovering their detectors over rocks and brush, to both of their surprise, they found the ring in decent shape.

Sarah said she was able to take the ring in to be repaired and is so thankful she didn’t give up on looking for it.

“That’s what we said our vows on. An engagement ring means a lot too but it can be replaced. I feel the wedding band is more the promise to each other and so it just means more,” Sarah said of her wedding ring. “I was just shocked and I kind of cried a little bit when we saw it. It felt like a miracle to find it.”