BASALT, Colo. — The man who is facing charges in the Lake Christine Fire was rescued after skiing out-of-bounds at the Highlands Ski area on Sunday, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The Lake Christine Fire burned more than 5,000 acres and destroyed three homes, a barn, and an outbuilding.
Richard Miller and Allison Marcus were shooting tracer rounds at the Lake Christine shooting range on July 3, a time when Stage 2 fire restrictions were in place, according to the arrest affidavit from the Eagle County Sheriff's Office. Both Miller and Marcus face three charges of fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and setting fire to woods or prairie, a Class 6 felony.
Miller and Marcus are free on a $7,500 bond each. Miller is due in Eagle County court May 28.
On Sunday, Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol reported that a skier, identified as Miller, a resident of Basalt, was lost somewhere near Highlands Bowl a little after 3:35 p.m., according to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the three separated from the other two skiers around 12:30 p.m. When the missing skier didn’t contact the other two by 3:30 p.m., AHSP was notified.
The ski patrollers searched ski boundary lines looking for ski tracks that would have indicated where the skier went out-of-bounds. After an extensive search, they focused their efforts on an area known as the G Zones.
The Highlands Bowl is an area located at the top of Highlands Ski area in Aspen and is accessed by a roughly 800 vertical foot hike from the top of the Lodge Peak chair lift. The terrain is steep and the routes there are considered as “double black diamond.”
AHSP was unable to locate the missing skier, prompting them to call the Sheriff’s Office. Nineteen volunteer members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were called in to assist in the search.
The missing skier, now identified as Miller, was able to contact 911 on his cell phone. After the call was made, patrollers were able to make voice contact with Miller, who was 300 vertical feet below the ski area boundary.
Headlamps were used to illuminate their way through the darkness and heavy snow. Patrollers and MRA members skied down to Miller, reaching him around 6:45 p.m. Miller was uninjured.
Teams boot packed and stomped a trail for Miller to travel back uphill to the ski area boundary. Back in the ski area boundary, Miller and rescuers skied to the bottom of the ski area.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning during Sunday’s search and rescue.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and MRA would asks that skiers and snowboarders remain on established routes and avoid traveling into unfamiliar terrain. If the decision is made to travel outside of ski area boundaries, recreationalists should seek additional training, carry proper equipment and be prepared to spend the night unsupported in the backcountry in winter conditions.
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