Aspen skier Jeff Walker still missing after 2-day search; large-scale rescue efforts suspended

ASPEN, Colo. - A two-day search for missing Aspen skier Jeff Walker have yielded no results, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

Search efforts by the sheriff’s office and Mountain Rescue Aspen were suspended after finding no new information during Sunday and Monday’s searches. Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol will continue to perform targeted searches for Walker over the next few days.

Friends of Robert Jefferson Walker contacted authorities Saturday to report that they hadn’t heard from him since Thursday, March 7.

Walker’s friends and family indicated that he skied in the Aspen Highlands Bowl on a daily basis.

Deputies searched ski pass scan data and found that Walker’s pass was scanned at the Exhibition lift at the base of Aspen Highlands at 12:04 p.m. on Thursday.

After searching for Walker all day Sunday, rescue personnel from the sheriff’s office, Mountain Rescue Aspen and Aspen Skiing Company held a planning meeting Monday morning to discuss search tactics and then set out to find Walker.

Rescue teams included 16 ski patrollers, eight dogs, nine Mountain Rescue Aspen members and 72 members of the public. Groups searched different areas of Aspen Highlands for the missing skier.

Late in the afternoon, rescuers used a helicopter equipped with a RECCO detector -- a device used to locate people buried in the snow -- to aerially search the area. RECCO search expert Dale Atkins was on board the helicopter.

Officials believe that Walker had a RECCO reflector on his jacket when he went missing, based on interviews with his friends and family.

Despite the efforts of rescue crews throughout Sunday and Monday, the search yielded no new information, and all crews except those from the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol suspended the search.

Investigators say they will continue to investigate Walker’s disappearance based on leads from the public. If any new information is uncovered, rescue efforts may resume.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office asked anyone with information about Jeff Walker, his actions since March 7 or his whereabouts to call the sheriff's office at 970-920-5300.

If members of the public continue to search for Walker, authorities ask that they do so safely by searching in pairs and staying within the boundaries of the ski area.

Anyone with information gathered during a search of the area is asked to call the Aspen Highlands ski patrol at 970-544-3052.