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Ajax Mountain Rescue

Mountain Rescue Aspen Saves 2 Out-of-Bounds Skiers on Ajax Mountain

PITKIN COUNTY, COLORADO – In a dramatic late-evening operation on March 9, 2024, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) successfully rescued two skiers who had ventured out of bounds below the Hero’s Lift on Ajax Mountain, a known hazardous terrain.

The rescue operation began after the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a distressing 911 call around 5:50 pm, reporting the skiers’ perilous situation. Despite the impending darkness and the treacherous terrain, MRA was quick to respond, deploying multiple teams equipped with snowmobiles, extra clothing, and headlamps to locate and assist the stranded skiers.

By 7:24 pm, MRA rescuers located the skiers, who lacked adequate clothing and equipment for the conditions. After providing the necessary gear, including warm layers and avalanche beacons, the rescue team initiated a cautious descent. Utilizing headlamps to navigate the challenging terrain in darkness, the teams slowly made their way down the mountain.

A secondary team created a trail from CO-82 at the North Star Preserve to rendezvous with the first team, ensuring a safe passage for the skiers to the North Star Preserve parking area. By 8:30 pm, the operation concluded successfully, with the skiers safely transported to Aspen by a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office extends its gratitude to Mountain Rescue Aspen for their exceptional effort in this challenging nighttime rescue. This incident serves as a stark reminder to all skiers and snowboarders of the importance of adhering to ski boundary signs and closures.

The approximate location of the incident.

Safety Tips for Skiers and Snowboarders:

  1. Stay Within Boundaries: Always obey signs and closures. Venturing out of bounds can lead to dangerous situations and put both you and rescuers at risk.
  2. Be Prepared: Ensure you have adequate clothing, equipment, and knowledge of the terrain. Always carry a map, compass, or GPS device.
  3. Avalanche Awareness: Familiarize yourself with avalanche safety protocols. Carry and know how to use avalanche safety gear, including a beacon, shovel, and probe.
  4. Inform Someone: Always let someone know your plans, including where you’re going and your expected return time.
  5. Buddy System: Never ski or snowboard alone in remote or out-of-bounds areas. Having a partner can be lifesaving in case of an emergency.
  6. Emergency Kit: Carry a small emergency kit that includes basic first aid supplies, a whistle, a flashlight or headlamp, and fire-starting materials.
  7. Stay Calm: If you find yourself lost or in trouble, stay calm. Make yourself visible and audible to rescuers.


Remember, the thrill of adventure should never compromise safety. Stay informed, stay prepared, and enjoy the slopes responsibly.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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