Colorado Springs teacher dies in fall while skiing on Pikes Peak's Little Italy chute

By: Chhun Sun and Joel Millman, The Gazette
March 19, 2017 Updated: March 20, 2017 at 11:03 am
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photo - Rachel A. Dewey was a middle school social studies teacher with Banning Lewis Ranch Academy and  adjunct professor at Pikes Peak Community College. (Courtesy PPCC)
Rachel A. Dewey was a middle school social studies teacher with Banning Lewis Ranch Academy and adjunct professor at Pikes Peak Community College. (Courtesy PPCC) 

A 48-year-old Colorado Springs woman who fell while skiing on Pikes Peak died Sunday, the Teller County Sheriff's Office said, the latest death on a mountain whose steep chutes, ice and avalanches can make it extremely dangerous even for experts.

Rachel A. Dewey, a middle school social studies teacher with Banning Lewis Ranch Academy and  adjunct professor at Pikes Peak Community College, was skiing in an area known as Little Italy Couloir near Glen Cove with her husband and three teenage sons Sunday morning when she lost control and fell about 1,000 feet, the Sheriff's Office said.

In response, Banning Lewis canceled all classes Monday. Grief counselors were going to be available at the school starting at 7:30 a.m., spokesman Matt Meister said.

Rachel Dewey's husband, Grant Dewey, told authorities that his wife was an "advanced skier." Her family was with her until the arrival of deputies and Cascade Fire Department EMTs, who tried unsuccessfully to revive her, the Sheriff's Office said.

The Teller County Sheriff's Office received reports of someone being injured in a fall near the Glen Cove area of the Pikes Peak Highway around 2:20 p.m., Teller County Sheriff's Cmdr. Mark Morlock said. Glen Cove, just past mile marker 11 on the road that goes to the summit of Pikes Peak, is at an elevation of 11,500 feet.

Dewey's body was recovered by search and rescue crews from Teller and El Paso counties. An autopsy is scheduled for later this week.

Pikes Peak boasted the state's first rope tow in 1936, but hasn't had an operating ski area since 1984. That hasn't discouraged skiers and snowboarders from traveling up the Pikes Peak Highway in late winter and spring after a winter's worth of snow has blanketed the mountain.

Just past Glen Cove, there are a series of runs on the north face. There are easy runs right off the road, but also challenging backcountry bowls and chutes. Skiers are advised to have full avalanche gear. Little Italy is a near vertical chute.

Two men have died skiing Pikes Peak, and others have been badly injured.

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