A backcountry skier made a lucky escape after getting caught in an avalanche on Friday morning in the Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands Ski Resort in Colorado.
According to official reports from Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) and The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), a skier, who was the last to ascend the mountain in his party of three, triggered the avalanche in the G8 zone of the Highland Bowl. The slide broke over 40 feet wide and ran about 1,000 vertical feet, carrying the skier most of the way down the bowl. It was first reported at about 9:53 AM Friday by another skier who saw it happen.
Despite the dangerous event, the skier was unharmed and able to self-rescue. The only thing missing was one of his skis. CAIC also confirmed several other riders were able to safely descended the slope without incident.
The day before the slide, a spring snowstorm dropped more than a foot of fresh powder over the mountains.
A report from The Aspen Daily News says, “the skier who got caught in the slide, regretted his decision to ski the steep, snow-loaded terrain and hopes his experience serves as a lesson to others.”
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and MRA are strongly urging skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers venturing into the backcountry to “exercise extreme caution with the current spring conditions.”
Please stay out of the backcountry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only do high-risk activities put an unnecessary strain on first responders and medical services, but spring conditions are also ripe for avalanches to occur. Read more about why you should avoid entering the backcountry here.