Avalanche Victim's Body Recovered

(Aspen, CO) At 11:32 a.m. this morning, the body of Brandon J. Zukoff

was successfully recovered from the East Snowmass Creek backcountry. Zukoff, a native of Grand Blanc, Michigan died in an avalanche in the Sand’s Chute exactly seven days ago on February 22nd.


Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen, Snowmass Ski Patrol and DBS Helicopters took part in the cooperative effort to recover Zukoff from the area.


Due to the additional snow slides triggered late last week in the Sand’s Chute, the decision was made to use avalanche dogs in this mornings recovery. These additional resources were used in order to determine the new location of Zukoff’s body.


At 06:00 a.m. this morning, two members of SnowmassSki Patrol and one member from Mountain Rescue Aspen inserted into the field accompanied by three avalanche dogs. The avalanche dogs located Zukoff’s body “very quickly”, according to one MRA

member. A confirmed location was reported back to the Mountain Rescue Aspen cabin at 08:05 a.m.


Shortly after 9:00 a.m., a 12-person foot team from Mountain Rescue Aspen arrived at the location hit on by the dogs earlier in the morning. According to reports from the field, Zukoff’s body had been moved approximately 200 yards from the original location reported last week and was covered by approximately 1 meter of new snow.


In the interest of rescuer safety, a helicopter from DBS Helicopters was used to fly Zukoff’s body out of the field. At 11:32 a.m. the Long Ranger helicopter had made it to the scene and safely flew the body out to the staging point. All rescue personnel were safely out of the field by 12:30 p.m.


The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend a special thanks to the dedicated and professional members of the Snowmass Ski Patrol and Mountain Rescue Aspen for their continued efforts in this difficult operation.

Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011