30-year-old Aspen man dies in early morning snowboard crash
Authorities say 30-year-old Aaron Joseph Hill of Aspen died early Sunday morning after snowboarding in a closed area of Aspen Mountain and hitting a building near the base area on the west side.
Hill’s name was released Sunday afternoon by Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Eric Hansen, who said the cause and manner of death is pending further investigation.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Hill’s friend at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday that there was an accident near Lift 1A.
Hill, who moved to Aspen in November 2015, struck the race timing shack near the base of the mountain, about 200 yards uphill from the Lift 1A terminal, Pitkin County chief deputy of operations Alex Burchetta said, noting emergency personnel unsuccessfully tried life-saving measures on the man.
The friend, who is not from the Aspen area, said they had hiked onto the closed ski area after hours and rode down a run before Hill went back up.
“The friend said the man wanted to go back up and do another run. The friend stayed at the base then heard a sound,” Burchetta said Sunday afternoon.
Officials received the call from the victim’s friend saying the man had “injuries to the head,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. Burchetta said the man was not wearing a helmet. It is not known at this time if alcohol was involved.
“We just want people to be aware that dangers exist everywhere, not just in the backcountry,” Burchetta said. “When you’re skiing in a closed area and at night, there are dangers.”
Hill moved to Aspen in November 2015 to work at Kitchen Aspen as a sommelier, according to his Facebook posts, and a year later he went to work at the Viceroy Snowmass but no longer was working there when he died Sunday.
Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications for Aspen Skiing Co., said in a statement Sunday they were notified at approximately 2 a.m by local law enforcement about an accident on Aspen Mountain. He said mountain personnel responded to assist law enforcement and ski patrol will assist with an accident investigation.
“Individuals accessing the ski area at any time are expected to act responsibly and exercise prudent judgment,” Hanle said in a statement release Sunday afternoon. “Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with the family at this time.”
This is a developing story that will be updated.
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