Out-of-bounds skier cited

Ski area warns of dangers of backcountry skiing, avalanches


A Steamboat Springs man was cited Tuesday by deputies who said he was illegally skiing a trail below Duster ski trail.

It was the eighth such citation given since the mountain opened Nov. 23.

Sgt. Dan Kelliher, of the Routt County Sheriff's Office, said deputies received a call at about 12:15 p.m. that a man had entered a closed area and was skiing in an unpatrolled area.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Ski Patrol Director John Kohnke said he did not know whether the man got lost in the area where he was found, but that he had to have crossed the rope below Duster to ski there.

Kohnke said that ski patrol had to escort the man out of the area by snowmobile because there was no way to ski out.

Vladimir Aslamov, 23, was given a court summons, Kelliher said.

Because the citation was for a petty offense, Aslamov could face a fine of as much as $500, Kelliher said.

Kohnke said the ski area was working more aggressively this season to focus on safe and responsible skiing and riding.

"We've always, always, always had a concern for people's safety, and it seemed like in the past we had a feeling people weren't as aware of the dangers out-of-bounds skiing can present," he said. "This year, we really are working to enforce our initiatives, and it looks like we have had the best communication of those policies this year."

Kohnke warned that skiers and riders caught on closed trails, exhibiting fast or reckless behavior, or violating any other aspect of Ski Corp.'s Responsibility Code would receive citations and lose skiing/riding privileges for at least two weeks.

Kohnke said his greatest fear of people skiing on closed trails is that they are skiing in areas that the Ski Patrol is not watching, and that if the skier or rider was to get hurt, there is a possibility members of Ski Patrol would not see it or that they could endanger themselves by trying to rescue a wayward skier.

"Nobody thinks, 'What if I broke my leg or hit a tree?' Nobody does that," he said. "I start to lose sleep worrying about things like that."

Kohnke also said that although most people have been obeying closures, it takes only one time of skiing a closed trail or trying to ski in the backcountry to get hurt.

"People have to worry about stuff on the ground when they ski closed trails, but also, because of the amount of snow we have gotten, there is a very high avalanche danger that people need to know about," he said.

--To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com


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