Custom skis to benefit Leif Borgeson fundraiser |

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Custom skis to benefit Leif Borgeson fundraiser

Special to the Daily

A fundraiser benefiting the family of one of Summit County’s most memorable ski patrollers, Leif Borgeson, who died in February 2011 in Aspen, will extend through Nov. 1.

Rocky Mountain Underground designed a custom-made Leif Borgeson ski, which can be purchased for $799. All profits from the sale of the custom ski will go toward the college fund of Borgeson’s two sons, Ian and Aidan.

“This is a ski made with exceptional quality,” said Shawn Gorea, an organizer of the fundraiser. “We really want this to be huge because he was an amazing guy that left a lot behind – we want to support his family in any way that we can.”

The custom skis can be purchased online through Rocky Mountain Underground’s website. The commemorative equipment is also being offered to ski patrollers in the county for a discounted price.

The skis were designed with the personality and capabilities of Borgeson in mind, according to the design staff.

“People come from all over in the spring for the hiking terrain on The East Wall, and no better job for a patroller than putting in the staircase up Willie’s Wide,” said Matt Norfleet, designer of the custom ski. “Working this part of our terrain embodies what being on ski patrol at A-Basin is about, and we feel was possibly one of Leif’s favorite places, so I thought it fitting to represent it on his ski.”

Arapahoe Basin snow safety director, Borgeson passed away on Feb. 8, 2011, while hiking the ridge at the Aspen Highlands Bowl. Borgeson collapsed after the hike and was immediately attended to by Aspen Highlands patrol, but was unable to be resuscitated.

Borgeson worked at Arapahoe Basin starting in 1990, when he joined the ski patrol after patrolling at Keystone for several years. He held various positions, including medical coordinator, paramedic, snow safety supervisor and as snow safety director and served as a paramedic for Summit County Ambulance Service in the early 1990s.

“Leif was more than just a ski patroller at A-Basin, he was part of the A-Basin family,” said Alan Henceroth, chief operating officer of the ski area.

Borgeson was instrumental in creating Arapahoe Basin’s avalanche procedures and protocols and recognized nationally for his work on the study of avalanches, in particular wet slab avalanches. Between 2001-2004, he worked for the National Ski Patrol as their training director.

Before joining Keystone in the 1980s, he worked as a patroller in Arizona Snow Bowl and as a forest firefighter in Flagstaff, Ariz.