Aspen Highlands skier ducks rope, pens apology letter to ski patrol

Aspen Highlands skier ducks rope, pens apology letter to ski patrol

In a letter to the editor appearing in The Aspen Times on Monday, January 16, Thomas Azar apologizes to the Aspen Highlands ski patrol for ducking a rope on Tuesday, January 10. The ski area, nestled in Colorado’s rugged Elk Mountains, reported 16 inches of new snow overnight, and significant avalanche mitigation work was being done to get the mountain open. Azar admits to limbo-ing underneath a rope to access a zone near the Deep Temerity lift.

Now, on the one hand, it’s understandable that being barred from accessing some of the most delectable, arousing powder stashes on the mountain could drive any skiing-obsessed human insane. Who among us hasn’t, at one time or another, weighed the pros and cons of sneaking under, around or over a boundary to access our favorite lines? However, Azar did put himself, the Highlands patrollers and others in danger by ducking the rope. Regardless of the circumstances, worst-case scenarios were avoided, and the man was riddled with enough guilt to write an open apology.

Taken the day prior to the incident at Highlands. Photo by Jeremy Swanson

To reiterate, while ignoring rope closures that prevent access to deep pockets of snow may seem like a good idea in the moment, the powdery spoils will still await the patient.

Azar’s full open apology:

“Dear Aspen Highlands ski patrol,

I apologize for ducking under a rope to enter a closed ski area Tuesday. Ski Patrol was setting off avalanche-control bombs in Deep Temerity and I deliberately ignored the ski boundary.

I am writing this apology letter to inform locals and visitors to respect the boundaries that ski patrol sets, especially when they are protecting skiers and snowboarders by using avalanche preventative controls. I knew better than to duck under the rope. But, the fresh powder was too tempting to wait.

Ducking the rope and ignoring ski patrol’s significant efforts to protect us is a selfish endeavor. The repercussions could include losing your pass for two weeks, police intervention and serious injury. Please learn from my mistake and do not duck under ropes on the mountains.

Once again, I am truly sorry for ducking the rope.

Thomas Azar


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