Avalanche Victim Recovery Underway


(Aspen, CO) The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with Mountain Rescue Aspen and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center are in the process of recovery operations for the deceased skier in the East Snowmass Creek backcountry.

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 25-year-old Brandon John Zukoff of Michigan was skiing with two friends when he was buried by an avalanche in the Sand’s Chute. Snowmass Ski Patrollers were unable to resuscitate Zukoff.

At team of 8-10 professional rescuers are currently en route by snowmobile and then will skin to the site. The original recovery plan included a helicopter in tandem with the ground team. However, according to Incident Commander Jeff Lumsden of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, “A helicopter from Denver attempted to reach Pitkin County today, but was unsuccessful due to inclement weather.”

Snowmass Ski Patrol has provided reconnaissance and surveillance of the area. Conditions are extremely unstable and unsafe. The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Weather Advisory from 6 p.m. today through 6 p.m. Saturday.

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011