Man seriously injured in Highlands Bowl, airlifted off mountain to hospital

Jason Auslander and David Krause
The Aspen Times
Highland Bowl during a recent March day.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

A medical helicopter landed early Thursday afternoon at Aspen Highlands to evacuate a seriously injured 56-year-old man who fell in Highland Bowl, officials said.

Details about the incident Thursday were still coming in, though it was confirmed the skier fell in the Bowl, slid down an unknown distance and was “badly injured,” said Alex Burchetta, chief of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Aspen Skiing Co. Vice President of Communications Jeff Hanle said the man “crashed at the top of the Y2 run and slid to the bottom.”

Hanle said the man was “nonresponsive when patrol arrived, but they were able to perform life-saving measures and got a pulse. They stabilized him and moved him out of the Bowl to the midmountain to be airlifted.”

The man, whose name and hometown have not been released, was unconscious when he was evacuated about 1 p.m. and flown out of the area, Burchetta said.

Witnesses said the helicopter tried to land near the bottom of the Bowl but high winds thwarted attempts. The man was then moved to the front side of Highlands and the helicopter landed in a flat area toward the bottom of the Nugget trail about two-thirds of the way down the mountain.

Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol coordinated the helicopter evacuation, Burchetta said. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the base because an ambulance was called, he said.

Gabe Muething, director of Aspen Ambulance, said his agency received a call to respond to Highlands at 12:55, and paramedics waited at the base of the mountain in case ski patrol brought the injured person down. The man suffered a “traumatic injury,” he said.

“All I know is it was significant injuries from trauma,” Muething said.

The helicopter evacuated the man to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, he said. An update on the man’s condition was not available Thursday evening. An official at St. Mary’s said they could not give an update.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.