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Mountain Rescue Aspen Member Killed in Closing Day Slide at Aspen Highlands

A photo of Aspen Highlands, dated 2013. Aspen Highlands photo.

Tragedy struck during closing day at Aspen Highlands in Colorado when an avalanche killed an off-duty member of Mountain Rescue Aspen in the the popular backcountry Maroon Bowl just beyond the resort's gates, per a report by the Aspen Times.

According to Denver's ABC7, rescue crews responded to a report that two skiers had been caught in an avalanche while skinning up the Maroon Bowl around 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 

In a statement to the Aspen Times, the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said that the deceased skier's identity will be released Monday after relatives of the departed are contacted. The second skier was able to communicate with ski patrol by cell phone after the slide and climbed back uphill to his ski partner in the avalanche debris.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center released this image of where the slide occurred. CAIC photo.

Both skiers were raked through trees on the slope in the slide.

"It appears that the skier caught in the slide hit a tree," Pitkin County Deputy Kent Taylor told the Aspen Times. "Unfortunately, despite resuscitation efforts, the skier caught in the slide did not survive." 

On Sunday, rescue officials told ABC7 that conditions were still too treacherous to recover the departed skier's body, and that recovery operations would be re-attempted on Monday.

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