Authorities recover Snowmass avalanche victim

By Real Aspen
Real AspenMarch 1, 2011
Authorities recovered the body of Brandon J. Zukoff from the East Snowmass Creek backcountry this morning.
Brandon Zukoff



Zukoff, a native of Grand Blanc, Mich., died in an avalanche in the Sand’s Chute exactly seven days ago on Feb. 22. Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen, Snowmass Ski Patrol and DBS Helicopters took part in the cooperative effort to recover Zukoff from the area.

Due to the additional snow slides triggered late last week in the Sand’s Chute, authorities employed avalanche dogs in this morning's recovery. These additional resources were used in order to determine the new location of Zukoff’s body. At 6 a.m., two members of Snowmass Ski Patrol and one member from Mountain Rescue Aspen entered the Snowmass backcountry with three avalanche dogs. The avalanche dogs located Zukoff’s body “very quickly”, according to one Mountain Rescue Aspen member. A confirmed location was reported back to the Mountain Rescue Aspen cabin at 08:05 a.m.

Shortly after 9 a.m., a 12-person foot team from Mountain Rescue Aspen arrived at the location hit on by the dogs earlier in the morning. According to reports from the field, Zukoff’s body had been moved approximately 200 yards from the original location reported last week and was covered by a meter of new snow. In the interest of rescuer safety, a helicopter from DBS Helicopters was used to fly Zukoff’s body out of the field. At 11:32 a.m. the helicopter had made it to the scene and safely flew the body out to the staging point. The operation was over by 12:30 p.m.


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