Skico instructor dies after hitting tree |

Skico instructor dies after hitting tree

Joel Stonington
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS ” Ski instructor Chris Bove, 35, died Sunday after hitting a tree Saturday while skiing at Snowmass.

A ski patroller saw the accident at 1 p.m. and called in help from a chairlift. Bove was unconscious when patrol arrived though he became responsive during treatment.

He was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, where he underwent many hours of surgery. A friend, Lisa Weiss, said 30 or 40 people waited at the hospital until 1:30 a.m., when they were told Bove had died. Time and cause of death were not available pending an autopsy by the Pitkin County coroner this morning.

Bove was skiing alone on Whispering Jesse in the Big Burn area on his day off, according to the Aspen Skiing Co. He was a nine-year veteran ski instructor with the Skico and six-year ski instructor with Challenge Aspen, a local nonprofit adaptive skiing program for the disabled.

“He’s been one of our top instructors for the disabled that we’ve ever had,” said Houston Callan, CEO of Challenge Aspen. “He always had this calming effect over people that made people right at home the first minute you met him.”

Bove was born in Minnesota, grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia and attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology in 1993. He moved to Denver a few years later to work and study at the University of Denver’s Barbara Davis Center for diabetes research. On weekends, he came to Aspen to teach for the Skico and help out at Challenge Aspen. Later, he became an instructor for Challenge Aspen and three years ago, he moved here full time.

At one point, Bove was an assistant coach for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team and recently coached local racer Sam Ferguson in the Winter X Games 11 mono-skiercross.

On Saturday, Bove helped Ferguson prepare for the downhill at Buttermilk and took Ferguson to the hill before heading over to Snowmass to ski.

“He was willing to help me out prior to his going skiing,” Ferguson said. “If he was late, he was probably helping someone else out prior to him getting there. He was always going out of his way to do something for you.”

Bove started ski racing at 10 and later competed for Marquette. He raced a good deal locally, and friends described him as an avid freeskier.

“He just had a tremendous love of life and love of Aspen,” Weiss said. “He did everything he could to get back up here. He loved being a local. We laughed that Chris just loved a party. If there was something going on, the guy made a diligent effort to find the party. He just embodied the Aspen life. He was a very bright soul.”

Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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