CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s a crime parents should hear about — a man trying to sexually assault teenage girls on the ski slopes. It happened twice at Monarch Mountain, and now detectives are sifting through new information. But if the suspect was a tourist, the case could be hard to solve.
The attacks happened twice to two different girls. The first one occurred on Dec. 19, and the second on Jan. 1. Authorities say the suspect was brazen because the slopes were packed with skiers and boarders for the holiday season.
“We have a suspect that potentially was trying to sexually assault two females that were alone at the time,” Detective Andy Rohrich with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office said.
In both cases the suspect rode a chairlift with a teenage girl who was alone. After the ride he followed them and forced them into the woods off the ski run.
“(He) attempts to sexually assault them once they’re alone,” Rohrich said.
According to the sheriff’s office, the second time the suspect even pulled out a handgun and fired it into the air to try to scare the victim.
“We live in a small community, things like this don’t typically happen in an area like this,” Rohrich said.
Officials at Monarch told CBS4 they’re not actively alerting guests when they arrive at the mountain about the assaults, but employees have confidential information to try and help identify the suspect.
“We believe the suspect to be between 5-foot-8 and 6 feet tall, approximately 140 pounds, red hair, potentially freckles on his face,” Rohrich said.
Since the attacks happened around the holidays, Rohrich isn’t sure if the suspect is a local or a tourist.
“Anyone with information, we’re asking them to please contact the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.”
Monarch Mountain is located in Chaffee County west of Salida.