Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Patsy Hileman Shrine (Snowmass)

The Patsy Hileman Shrine is located on Snowmass, near the place where she died.  Photos of this Shrine are needed; if you have any you would like to contribute for use on this page, please send to [email protected].  Thanks to Paul Tefft for his help with this page. 


Patsy Hileman was killed in an avalanche on December 30, 2012, and see this news report:  "Aspen Snowmass begins the new year on a somber tone as the resort mourns the loss of one of their own. Ski Patroller Patsy Hileman was found dead on Sunday, December 30th after triggering an avalanche. She was found in an area known as Ship's Pow Glades — a permanently closed section of Snowmass Ski Area.  In the official statement released by Aspen Skiing Company, Hileman was said to be on duty at the time of the accident. The 26-year veteran was stationed at the High Alpine chairlift, and when she failed to report in a search was initiated at 12:45pm. Patrols located her body at 1:23pm, and initiated immediate medical treatment. Unfortunately, their attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful and Hileman was pronounced dead at 1:37pm.  Initial speculation was that the victim had be sweep over a cliff after triggering a small avalanche in the closed area. A pair of tracks were found leading into the slide zone. The scenario is further corroborated by the Pitkin County Coroner who described the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the chest and back.  This is the first avalanche-related fatality in Colorado this season, and The Colorado Avalanche Information Center was on the scene to investigate. Their initial incident report stated that the victim, “likely died from injuries sustained in the avalanche and subsequent fall.”  After returning to the scene of the slide on Monday, CAIC Director Ethan Greene told the Aspen Daily News, “the snowpack in Ship’s Prow is partly boot-packed and partly in unaltered backcountry-like condition, and they haven’t determined whether the avalanche area had been packed at all.”  In the statement, Mike Kaplan, President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Company remarked, “This is a shocking and tragic accident that deeply affects everyone in the company.” “Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with her family and friends at this time.” 

See this article, "Veteran patroller leaves a legacy of joy for skiing" by Andrew Travers, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer, Sunday, January 6, 2013,  "Patsy Hileman: 1963-2012.  With tears, laughter and one lengthy standing ovation for the Snowmass Ski Patrol, more than 300 people gathered alongside Patsy Hileman’s blood family and mountain family to remember the fallen patroller Saturday.  Hileman, 49, a ski patrol veteran and Michigan native, died a week ago in a ski accident on the mountain where she had worked for more than two decades.  She was remembered for her infectious love of skiing, her care for the community, for her radiant smile, and for carving down the mountain with unmatched speed and grace.  A standing-room crowd packed the Elk Camp restaurant at Snowmass Ski Area for the evening memorial ceremony, led by the Snowmass Chapel’s Robert de Wetter.  “This is an extraordinary testimony to what this village is about. It’s also an extraordinary testimony to Patsy and how many lives she touched, and to how loved she is,” de Wetter said of the outpouring of love for Hileman.  Along with many tales of Hileman’s skiing prowess and passion, friends shared stories about her industriously hitching a ride with a trucker after running out of gas on Interstate 80 on her way to Aspen for the first time, of poaching hot tubs around the village late at night, and of once scaring off a charging bear before charging herself up East Snowmass Pass.  “Her smile could brighten anybody’s day,” said her niece, Alena Graves.  A photo slideshow behind the speaker’s podium showed Hileman carving through deep powder, hiking in the desert, smiling on mountain tops and standing proudly with Graves at a horse show.  “She loved to patrol but she loved to ski even more,” said patroller John Beezer, who like many recalled her boundless love of the sport and the way she spread her enthusiasm to countless others during her years on snow.  “I will try and keep this short and sweet, like Patsy’s turns,” said Snowmass patrol director Craig Chalmers. “Patsy will not be forgotten in our hearts and in our turns. She is everywhere on this mountain.”  Grieving colleagues spoke of her skill as a mentor to new patrollers, her patrol shack humor and her inexhaustible excitement for skiing. That joy, they said, will be her legacy.  “I know her spirit and her voice will be with us,” one patroller said, “urging us out the door to take another run, to see if we can keep up with her and see if we can find that perfect turn she so often found.”  Her patrol brethren held flares in a formation spelling out “Patsy” and shot off fireworks on a trail beside the Elk Camp gondola, as mourners made their way down the mountain from the hour-long service. Snowmass firemen also hung a pink banner from a ladder truck in her honor beside the gondola.  “She had that spark in her eye,” recalled Aspen Skiing Co. CEO and President Mike Kaplan, who, like Hileman, started working for the company in 1986. “It was that spark that means, ‘I just skied something great, and you need to get up there.’ It was more than a spark, it was a fire that was burning all the time. It was fire for life, it was fire for the mountain, for her fellow patrollers.”  Hileman, he recalled, was also unafraid to rib the executive for on-mountain developments like the six-pack ski lift and Elk Camp restaurant, with what he called her “plain-talking passion.”  “I loved it, I respected it, and I definitely miss it,” he said.  Hileman’s family respectfully requests the omission of flowers for Patsy. Instead, those that wish to are invited to make contributions to the Patricia Hileman Memorial Fund. Donations will go toward the creation of a public memorial in the Snowmass Village area commemorating Patsy’s life and her love for the outdoors.  Please make checks payable to “Patricia Hileman Memorial Fund” and mail them to:  Alpine Bank - C/O Patricia Hileman Memorial Fund - 15 Kearns Rd  P.O. Box 5490  - Snowmass Village, CO 81615.  Learn more at
Also, see this article,, "OSHA clears SkiCo after investigating ski patroller’s death" by Chad Abraham, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer, Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

Also see this page:  Last First Tracks: Snowmass Memorial Held for Patsy Hileman, 7 January 2013 

See this video report from 7 News in Denver:  "A 49-year-old ski patroller died in an avalanche at Snowmass Sunday.  Jaclyn Allen has details."  Published on December 30, 2012.

For photos, see below and you can click on them to enlarge them.  Also see this Facebook photo album (you do not need to have a Facebook account in order to view the album):