Backcountry skier and rescue volunteer who died in Maroon Bowl avalanche ID’d
John Galvin was the Mountain Rescue Aspen member who was killed Sunday in an avalanche in Maroon Bowl outside of Aspen Highlands, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
Galvin, 57, was a 30-year veteran of the rescue organization and longtime resident of the Roaring Fork Valley.
He was skiing with another person when they were caught in an avalanche and swept into the trees. The other skier, who has not been identified, survived and was able to call Highlands ski patrol.
“John helped save lives of hundreds of visitors and locals who were in need while injured or stranded in our mountains. John will be missed by all on our team and in our community,” MRA President Justin Hood said Monday in a news release.
Recovery efforts remained on hold Monday as conditions in the area remained unsafe, the Sheriff’s Office said. The terrain and conditions were too unsafe to attempt a recovery effort Sunday, according to officials.
Aspen Highlands ski patrol will work with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center personnel this week “to provide snow safety assessments which will be used to determine the best time and date to recover Galvin’s body,” the Sheriff’s Office said in the release.
“John was a dedicated and professional public safety volunteer, who unselfishly gave his time to our community over 30 years,” Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said Monday in the release.
Galvin was a rescue leader and started with the Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteer group in 1988, according to his LinkedIn professional page. He was the president of Couloir Construction Corporation and was a licensed contractor in Aspen and Pitkin County according to his page.
The Maroon Bowl is outside of the Highlands ski boundary and to the hiker’s right on the way up the trail to Highland Bowl, which is to the hiker’s left. Highland Bowl was closed all day Sunday after a spring storm dropped about 12 inches of snow overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.
The second skier was able to communicate with ski patrol, which witnessed the slide, by cellphone and was able to climb uphill and reach the skier who had been caught in the avalanche, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center on Sunday morning issued an avalanche warning for much of the Colorado high country after a spring storm dropped up to two feet of wet, heavy snow in some areas. The warning listed avalanche danger as level 4 (on a scale of 5) and warned of “unusually destructive” slides based on the snow.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Jeanie Murphy learned to ski in Austria when she was stationed in Mannheim, Germany, with the U.S. Army more than 20 years ago.