Aspen Highlands ski patrol on Friday focused its efforts on the front side of the mountain in search of missing skier Jeff Walker, but there was no sign of the well-known local who disappeared on March 7.
Ski patrollers, along with rescue dogs, searched the Sherwood Forest area of Highlands all day, based on intuition from Walker’s family members, who are being assisted by psychics.
Family members searched from above Highlands on Friday morning via helicopter but again, there was no sign of Walker, said Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle.
“We’ll continue to look until we’ve exhausted every possibility,” he said, adding SkiCo representatives will continue meeting with the family every day.
Family members, including Walker’s mother and sister, who live out of town, are still in Aspen. The SkiCo has offered lodging for them.
Walker, 55, was last seen hiking Highland Bowl by a snowcat driver on the afternoon of Thursday, March 7. His ski pass was used last at the Exhibition chairlift at the base of Highlands at 12:04 p.m. that day. On Saturday, Walker’s friends reported him missing, and his street clothes, wallet and cell phone were found in a day locker he uses near Aspen’s gondola plaza. Walker, a wine consultant and former sommelier at a local high-end restaurant, was known to hike Highland Bowl almost daily.
Hanle said teams also were sent into the G Zones in the bowl on Friday and they searched in out-of-bounds terrain down to Castle Creek Road. Again, there was no sign of Walker.
Doug Sheffer, owner of DBS Helicopters, said he searched with the family on Thursday, focusing on the Olympic Bowl side of the ski area. The search was methodical and done in a grid pattern but it was difficult to see any signs of Walker or any notable disturbances in the snow. Searching on the ground is likely the best option, he noted.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate Walker’s disappearance and is treating it as a missing persons case.