Snowboarder dies in Highland Bowl after hitting tree

42-year-old male pronounced dead Wednesday afternoon at Aspen Highlands Ski Area

Staff report
Highland Bowl on the left with the Temerity section of Aspen Highlands to the right, as seen from the top of Aspen Mountain.
David Krause / The Aspen Times

A 42-year-old snowboarder died Wednesday afternoon at Aspen Highlands after crashing into a tree on the Y12 line in Highland Bowl, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Aspen Skiing Co.

“At approximately 2:30 p.m. Aspen Highlands patrol received a call from a guest reporting an unconscious male snowboarder at the bottom of Y12 in Highland Bowl,” Skico said in a statement. “Patrol responded immediately. The man was unconscious, had no pulse and was not breathing; CPR and other advanced life saving measures were initiated and continued for 30 minutes.”

The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:08 p.m.

The victim was skiing with another person, but the friend did not witness the accident, according to the sheriff’s office.

“While there were no witnesses to the collision, rescuers surmised the male collided with a tree,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The man was wearing a helmet, according to Skico.

“Aspen Highlands patrol is looking for any individuals who may have witnessed the incident,” Skico’s statement said.

The victim’s place of residence was not immediately available. Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said he did not believe the man was a local resident.

Y12 is on the skier’s right of the Hyde Park Trail. Y12 is listed on the Highlands trail map as a south-facing aspect with a top elevation of 11,480 feet. The steepest pitch is 38 degrees with an average pitch of 36 degrees.

The man was transported by ski patrollers to the Highlands base, where they were met by officials from the sheriff’s office and coroner’s office.

“The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office along with Aspen Skiing Co. provided support for the deceased male’s friend,” the sheriff’s office said in its statement. “The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office would like to recognize Aspen Ski Patrol’s resuscitation efforts and their quick response.”

Hanle said Wednesday’s accident resulted in the first death on the Aspen Snowmass slopes of the season.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the man’s family and friends and we will be in contact with them to provide any assistance that we can,” Skico said in its statement.

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