Chinese man last seen in Vail still missing as season ends
Yunlong Chen is still missing, and the chances of him being found by a skier on Vail Mountain just got a lot slimmer.
Vail closed for the season on Sunday, nearly eight weeks after Chen’s last known activity on Feb. 28.
Chen was spotted at the Vail Transportation Center between 8:15 and 9 a.m. on Feb. 28; a little while later his ski pass was scanned at Gondola One. That was the last known activity related to Chen, Amber Barrett with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.
“The last place it appears for him to have been was skiing on Vail Mountain,” Barrett wrote in an email to the Vail Daily on Thursday, April 18. “Ski patrol and ski school instructors are conducting daily searches. There have also been more than 250,000 people who have skied in Vail since Mr. Chen went missing.”
Also, added Barrett, “We have communicated with local pilots, asking for them to keep an eye out when they fly over any of this area (along with everything else that was included).”
Barrett did not share any lifts that Chen may have scanned besides Gondola One, but in March Detective Aaron Veldheer confirmed that Chen’s pass was scanned in more places than just Gondola One.
“He scanned a few (lifts) at Vail,” Veldheer said.
Alone on a ski vacation
While the last known activity related to Chen occurred in Vail on Feb. 28, it took until March 10 for reports of his disappearance to reach Vail.
The snow stake at Vail recorded 57 inches of snowfall from Feb. 28 to March 10.
Chen, 55, is from China and was traveling alone on a ski vacation. He was scheduled to fly to British Columbia for a few days after Vail, before returning to China. Police said he didn’t make it to British Columbia.
Chen’s family in China reported him missing when he did not arrive back home.
“That may have caused some of the delay in reporting,” Veldheer said.
Also, “he was known to maybe be a little bit loose on his schedule,” Veldheer added.
Surveillance photos taken of Chen on the morning of Feb. 28 show him wearing bright orange ski pants and a bright blue jacket.
If anyone has any information about Chen or his whereabouts, contact the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 328-8500 or the Vail Public Safety Communications Center to speak with the Investigations team at (970) 479-2201.
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