Pitkin County, Colorado – 2/5/14 – On 2/5/14, at approximately 7:56 PM, Aspen Pitkin County Communications received a phone call from a woman reporting that her husband and brother-in-law were overdue after leaving Snowmass Village on a cross country skiing adventure on the Government Trail.
The “Government Trail” is a commonly used trail that spans approximately 9 miles between Aspen and Snowmass Village. The trail is utilized in the summer months as a hiking and mountain biking trail, while in the winter it is frequently used by cross country skiers and snowshoers.
The reporting person, identified as Nedra Hecker of Charleston County, SC, stated that her husband, Bruce Hecker, and her brother-in-law, Carl Hecker, left Snowmass Village via the “Government Trail” around 10:30 AM and were supposed to arrive at the West Buttermilk parking lot to be picked up by dark. After waiting for Bruce and Carl at the parking lot for two hours, Nedra became concerned due to the extremely cold temperatures and called dispatch to ask for assistance.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office responded and notified Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) of the incident. Seven MRA members responded immediately and at approximately 10:15 PM, five MRA members mobilized from the West Buttermilk parking lot into the backcountry to search for the missing
skiers. MRA utilized a 3-person foot team and a 2-person snowmobile team during their search efforts. The remaining two MRA members remained on scene at the parking lot to assist with logistics.
After a brief search, the two skiers were located nearby and assisted safely down to the West Buttermilk parking lot. There were no injuries sustained during this incident and all MRA members were out of the field by 11:42 PM.