A member of the Aspen Skiing Company snowmaking crew was seriously injured late Thursday night when his snowmobile struck a tree in the Snowmass ski area, the company said. His condition was even further compromised when he was not known to be missing and was not found until early Friday morning.
Jeff Hanle, spokesman for the company, said the accident occurred on Upper Hal’s Hollow, a run that is adjacent to the usual snowmobile route. Hanle said the crew member was not discovered until 7 a.m. this morning.
The employee reported early for his graveyar shift, the night shift from midnight to 8 a.m. He evidently punched in but had not yet signed the controller’s log when he was asked to take a snowmobile to pick up another employee lower on the mountain, Hanle reported to The Denver Post.
While the crew member was gone, there was a full shift change and the graveyard shift controller and other crew members were unaware that a coworker was on the mountain.
When calls to his cellphone were not answered, and the controller’s log was checked, the crew incorrectly assumed he did not report for work, the Aspen spokesman said.
When he was discovered, the Snowmass ski patrol immediately evacuated him and he was then transferred to Aspen Valley Hospital and finally airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
The terrible tragedy illustrates how quickly thing can go very wrong on the slopes, even for the most experienced.

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