A Snowmass ski patroller died Sunday from an avalanche she triggered while skiing on-duty in a closed area.
The 49-year-old woman was skiing alone in a permanently closed area known as Ship's Prow Glade, located next to the Upper Ladder run in Hanging Valley, according to a press release issued by Aspen Skiing Co. The woman "triggered a small avalanche and was swept over a cliff," Skico said.
"This was a very small slide and there was no one there to witness it," said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.
Ski Patrol located the woman at approximately 1:23 p.m., after launching a search nearly 40 minutes earlier because she was overdue to her station, according to the press release. She was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:37 p.m. and her body was taken to Snowmass Clinic. The precise cause of her death was unknown as of Sunday, Skico said.
An autopsy was being performed Sunday night.
Skico did not release the woman's name Sunday because her relatives had not yet been notified.
"This is a shocking and tragic accident that deeply affects everyone in the company," Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan said in a statement. "Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with her family and friends at this time."
Sunday's fatality was Colorado's first avalanche death of the season. An average of 25 people die each year from avalanches, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.