SNOWMASS - A Snowmass ski patroller died Sunday from an avalanche she triggered while skiing on-duty in a closed area.
Patricia Hileman, 49, of Snowmass Village, was skiing alone in a permanently closed area known as Ship's Prow Glade, located next to the Upper Ladder run in Hanging Valley at Snowmass, according to a press release issued by Aspen Skiing Co. The woman "triggered a small avalanche and was swept over a cliff," Skico said.
"This was a very small slide and there was no one there to witness it," said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.
Ski Patrol located the woman at approximately 1:23 p.m., after launching a search nearly 40 minutes earlier because she was overdue to her station, according to the press release. Hileman was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:37 p.m. and her body was taken to Snowmass Clinic. The precise cause of her death was unknown as of Sunday, Skico said.
"This is a shocking and tragic accident that deeply affects everyone in the company," Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan said in a statement. "Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with her family and friends at this time."
Sunday's fatality is Colorado's first avalanche death of the season.