Nearly six months later, Snowmass visitor reunites with lost engagement ring
The Aspen Times
It’s been a roller-coaster ride of an engagement for Jessica Cohen.
Cohen lost her engagement ring on New Year’s Eve at the Snowmass ski area, only to have it found by sixth-grader Alexis Zeringue on Tuesday.
Alexis was taking part in the Trash for Cash cleanup project at Snowmass with her Aspen Middle School classmates when she found the ring. Not only was Cohen shocked to hear that the ring was found, but it restored a level of faith in the goodness of people and restored her fondness for the Aspen-Snowmass area in general.
“When I lost the ring, it felt like we were leaving a part of our love at Snowmass,” Cohen said by phone from Boston, where she lives. “Now we can’t wait to return.”
Cohen and her fiance, Dan Rowe, were visiting Snowmass during winter break and stayed at a slopeside condo. It was the couple’s fourth visit to Snowmass, a tradition that Rowe shared with Cohen after visiting Aspen and Snowmass many times with his parents.
“The first time Dan brought me there, I knew right away why it was special to his family,” Cohen said. “I love it there. You get such a great sense of the active lifestyle the residents enjoy, and people are incredibly friendly. This past winter, we decided to make the trip to Snowmass as our Christmas present to each other.”
On Dec. 31, the couple made plans to have dinner at the Krabloonik restaurant. The restaurant is a personal favorite of Rowe’s parents and has become the same for Cohen and Rowe.
Several times during the evening, Cohen had noticed that Rowe appeared nervous or distracted.
In hindsight, Cohen said she should have realized something was up with Rowe, but that night, she was too busy enjoying herself to notice.
As the couple left the restaurant, they were heading up the stairs that go to the upper parking lot when Rowe suggested they take a picture of themselves under the Christmas lights.
As they prepared to have their picture taken, Cohen turned her back for a moment, giving Rowe the chance he had been waiting for.
“He slyly dropped to his knee in the traditional way and proposed,” she said. “He totally caught me off guard, and after being together for nine years, that’s not easy. He had been carrying the ring around all day waiting for the right moment to propose.”
The couple drove back to their condo at Snowmass and proceeded to call friends and relatives to share the news.
Around 11 p.m., Cohen suggested that the couple go outside and raise a glass to their future. They waited until midnight and celebrated the new year outdoors before deciding to walk back to their condo under the Village Express chairlift.
That’s when their evening of enjoyment took a harsh change of direction.
Cohen said her new engagement ring was too large for her finger and fell off.
“I only took a few steps before I realized I had lost my ring,” Cohen said. “But it was dark and snowing, so we really couldn’t see much.”
The couple marked the area and went back to their condo to get warmer clothing. They returned and used their iPhone flashlights to search for the ring. Hours went by, and frustration grew. Once the snow groomers showed up where they were searching, they realized they had to stop looking.
“I was getting pretty emotional,” Cohen said. “There were a lot of tears and crying. I kept thinking I had lost something that our relationship was invested in, or at least that’s how it felt.”
After a few hours of sleep, the couple returned to the area where the ring was lost. Some friends saw them and helped search for the ring. Eventually, several members of the ski patrol came to help, and a Snowmass employee brought a couple of rakes out to assist in the search.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the ring, which was valued around $5,000.
The couple had to stop looking, as they needed to get ready to return to the Boston area later that day. They reported the lost ring to the Snowmass lost and found, which in turn made a report to the local Police Department.
“We assumed we would never see the ring again,” Cohen said. “We went from such an emotional high to such a low. Having to leave that day was really depressing.”
On the flight back, the couple tried to rationalize the loss by hoping someone would one day find the ring and get engaged with it themselves.
When they returned to Boston, Rowe bought Cohen another ring, but the memory of the Snowmass loss was difficult to shed.
On Wednesday, nearly five months after losing the ring, Cohen was at a sales conference in Michigan when she got a call on her cellphone from a “970” area code.
“I had no idea who was calling when it hit me that maybe, just maybe, it was a call about my ring,” she said. “It was a police officer from Snowmass, and he told me a sixth-grader had found my ring. I started chuckling out loud and couldn’t believe it. I sent them a picture of the ring, and it matched. I still can’t believe it.”
It was Tuesday when Alexis found the ring. She wasn’t really looking forward to picking up garbage, but her mother told her they might find something cool if they were diligent. As Alexis approached the Village Express chairlift, she saw something glimmering in the grass.
“I thought it was a fake ring,” Alexis said. “But once I realized it might be real, I knew the right thing was to give it to my teacher. We were all shocked. It feels so good to help someone. I never thought about keeping it. Helping someone turn a bad situation into a good one is a great feeling.”
Cohen hasn’t had a chance to speak with her but is looking forward to thanking Alexis personally. She’s also going to donate money to the Trash for Cash project and buy the whole class a pizza party.
“That girl is my hero,” she said. “I’m going to tell her that every time you do something good to help others, it’ll come back to you.”
After hearing Alexis had found her ring, Cohen got a call from Rowe.
“He asked if I was smiling ear-to-ear,” Cohen said. “They called him first, and he was just as happy as I was. It was totally meant to be.”
The couple plan to wed in 2015 and haven’t decided where they’re going to get married, but Snowmass now has to be on the list of potential sites.
“When I lost the ring, it made the thought of returning to Snowmass bittersweet,” Cohen said. “Now we’re excited to return. Our hearts will always be in Snowmass.”
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