Arapahoe Basin Snow Safety Director, Leif Borgeson passed away on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 while hiking the ridge at the Aspen Highlands Bowl. Leif collapsed after the hike and was immediately attended to by Aspen Highlands patrol, but was unable to be resuscitated.
Leif worked at Arapahoe Basin starting in 1990 joining the ski patrol after patrolling at Keystone for several years. He worked in various capacities including Medical Coordinator, Paramedic, Snow Safety Supervisor and most recently as Snow Safety Director. He has been instrumental in creating Arapahoe Basin’s Avalanche Procedures and Protocols and recognized nationally for his work on the study of avalanches in particular wet slab avalanches. Between 2001-2004, Leif worked for the National Ski Patrol as their Training Director. Before joining Keystone in the 1980s, Leif worked as a patroller in Arizona Snow Bowl and as a Hot Shot Forest Fire Fighter in Flagstaff, Arizona. In addition, Leif served as a Paramedic for Summit County Ambulance Service in the early 1990s.
Leif is survived by his wife Denise Schmidt-Borgeson, his two sons Ian and Aidan Borgeson, his parents and his brother.
There is no doubt that Leif will be missed by the entire Arapahoe Basin team. Plans for memorial services will be announced at a later date. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Borgeson family.
Arapahoe Basin, CO – February 11, 2011 – Memorial Service announced for Leif Eric Borgeson, Thursday, February 17, 2011
A Celebration of Life will be held in memory of Arapahoe Basin Snow Safety Director, Leif Borgeson, on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at the Keystone Conference Center.  The doors will open at 4:30pm for friends to gather and the service will begin promptly at 5:30 pm.  Immediately following the service, there will be a reception for all at the Arapahoe Basin A-frame including refreshments and a time to meet Leif’s family.  At the A-Basin reception there will be an opportunity for friends to be video-taped and share a favorite Leif Borgeson story. 
In lieu of flowers, donations for the Leif Borgeson Memorial Fund are being accepted at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.
Posted by Ian Borgeson on February 8, 2020
Got some snow on my face today for us both.

Just like 9 years ago today :)
Posted by Lars Borgeson on January 1, 2020
Happy Birthday Leif!
Posted by Florence Borgeson on January 1, 2020
It doesn't get easier! Miss you! Dado is with you now and I hear you and him having loud conversations about many things! Love Ma
Posted by Lars Borgeson on February 8, 2019
It's been eight years,Leif, but I stil feel like we just talked, like we just saw each other, and perhaps we have. But still I miss you brother.
Posted by Florence Borgeson on February 8, 2019
Miss you so much! Miss your Dado! But feel very lucky that I had you both in my life!!
Posted by Denise Schmidt on January 2, 2019
Hi Leif! It's 2019 and you are 58.
As you can see Aidan is turning into a coffee connoisseur as he tunes skis at the basin:). Ian is loving fly fishing while rafting the Upper Colorado.
He shared this with your mom, Aidan and me this past summer.  We met Paddy O and Karen at the take out that day in August. How cool was that?!
This fall Lars, Julia, Ian, Aidan, your mom and I spread you and Borg in Utah in places you and your dad had visited. A beautiful memorial and the boys loved seeing these places....... How I loved the Moki Dugway in the bus years ago:))
Posted by Teresa Wyatt on January 1, 2019
Leif...we talked when the phones went down or I was on a flight and needed to get info about snow conditions for the day. It was always a treat to NEED to pick up the phone. When you were in Aspen skiing, I was in the islands still doing snow reports. Oddly, I was planning to return to Summit County but ended up in Aspen. I so often think of you being here that day. You are missed...just to let you know the guys at A Basin have kept up pretty well. I know that would make you happy. Miss you.....and I DO look UP at those mountains here in Aspen and I never forget you.....
Posted by Florence Borgeson on February 9, 2018
Remembered yesterday but a hard day! Dado is with you now so we look to the heavens knowing that you are together! Miss you both so very much!!
Posted by Lars Borgeson on February 8, 2018
We miss you, Leif, more than ever.
Posted by Lars Borgeson on January 3, 2018
Miss you, Leif. Hope you enjoyed the beer with us up in the mountains on your birthday.
Posted by Florence Borgeson on January 2, 2018
Happy Birthday Leif! Love and miss you!

Love Mom and Dado
Posted by Ian Borgeson on January 2, 2018
Happy Birthday pops! We miss you, hope you're having a good time wherever you are. Ski in peace!
Posted by Soda Pop on January 2, 2018
Happy birthday old friend! Your boys are becoming strong young adults like yourself, you would be proud. By the way I just had my first baby girl in October, hope I can be a great father like you! Miss you!!!
Posted by Denise Schmidt on January 2, 2018
Bet you enjoyed your 57th birthday! Pretty cool you had a full moon...and your bro gets one on his birthday too!
We are working on what you wanted for Christmas: World Peace!!
Posted by Norm Brown on April 17, 2017
Hiked up an inviting chute at A-Basin last week and happened on his memorial bolted to the rock. Looks like he was good people.
Posted by Ian Borgeson on February 8, 2017
9" in the past 24hrs at the Basin today. Reminiscing on days long gone when I saw you at work; your beard always looked like an icicle. Ski in peace dad! I did today.
Posted by Florence Borgeson on January 2, 2017
We miss you!
Mom and Dado
Posted by Dan Gengler on January 2, 2017
Happy birthday Leif. Look forward to laughing with you again some day.
Posted by Gina Giovanni on January 2, 2017
I've been skiing your lines on the north side, Leif. Thanks for showing me the way! Your presences is dearly missed my old friend.

All the love to your family as I can only imagine. xo
Posted by Ian Borgeson on January 1, 2017
Happy 56th pops!! I love you so much. Aidan is turning into a man; I wish you could see. I know you're proud.
Posted by Ian Borgeson on March 26, 2016
I miss you dad.
Posted by Denise Schmidt on February 14, 2016
Happy Valentines's Day Leif! The boys and I will be eating chocolate in your honor, mine with nuts:).

Denise, Ian and Aidan XXXOOO
Posted by QX Bobo Persons on February 9, 2016
Interesting that this came up right now... 2 days ago I finally broke out and skied my "new" Borgy tribute skis that have been in barn for years, waiting for good snow. 
I think of you often. Being here in Flag, I bump in to folks that know you and your family, often.
Posted by Rebecca Hodgetts on February 5, 2016
Dealing with some booger-eaters today boss - and thought of you. Cracked a smile...
Posted by Dan Gengler on December 10, 2015
Don't know why I was thinking of Leif today...but there it is. I visited this site nearly five years ago when I read the news of his passing in the O'Gorman HS alumni newsletter. Leif and I were debate partners and good friends. I have fond memories of tooling around in his VW bug, backpacking trips, and laughing together until our sides hurt. I hadn't seen Leif since high school but I am so grateful to have seen on this site what a full and beautiful life he had. He was one of those rare souls you are most fortunate to have known. I still think of Leif which I can only hope is of some comfort to those who loved him.
Posted by Ian Borgeson on June 21, 2015
Thinking about you a whole lot lately. Especially today pops. Shred in Peace!
Much Love!
Posted by Mark Michaels on February 9, 2015
I will never forget Leif.
Posted by Tim Green on February 8, 2015
I did not know Leif but he sounds like a man I would have loved to been around and get to be his friend. My Mom died on Feb 2 and my Brother birthday is Feb 3 but Passed away March 15,2013.  I will keep Leif's memory alive but telling people about him and his work. God bless all his loved one.
Posted by REx Lint on February 8, 2015
Incase you missed the tribute video

Miss you my man.
Posted by Larry Grossman on February 8, 2015
Miss you Leif....really miss your attitude and smile whenever I am skiing at Arapahoe Basin. The rest of the crew there carries on your amazing legacy and work ethic. Such a great man.
Posted by Florence Borgeson on February 8, 2015
Miss you! You are loved! Thank you for our 2 amazing grandsons, Aidan and Ian!! Thank you for the memories that have sustained us the pass years!
Dad and Mom
Posted by Flo Borgeson on January 1, 2015

"Your memory is a keepsake from which we never part. We have you in our hearts always"

Dad and Mom
Posted by Future Shock on March 27, 2014
I came across this site while doing some online research. I never knew Leif but was touched by this wonderful tribute to the man and his life. The pictures say it all, he looks like a man who enjoyed his life and relationships with friends and family. I feel I would like to have known him in life.
Posted by Allie Barnes on March 21, 2014
rest in pece
Posted by Paul Rondeau on February 8, 2014
You are alive and strong in my thoughts. You will live as long as I live love ya man!!!
Posted by Denise Schmidt on February 8, 2014
Have been thinking of you! Ian is skiing in France and Aidan has been wearing a Hawaiian shirt to school:)
We love you always!
Posted by Florence Borgeson on February 8, 2014
You are missed!!
Mom & Dad
Posted by Colleen Ihnken on January 2, 2014
So much irony, COINCIDENCE in this world...souls with energy that we carry with us...Leif was remembered this new year's eve at Chuck's Cabin...skiing his skis...
Posted by Nitika Jain on April 30, 2013
Missed Forever
Posted by Larry Beverly on February 8, 2013
You are always with us in spirit......Loved and Missed by all......Rest Easy!
Posted by Kristy Kelton-Gruber on February 8, 2013
Kaileen always wanted to see you at the Basin.. It is part of what kept us going those first few years...after...anyway.. We miss you at the Patrol Office.. Love to Denise and Boys  Kristy.
Posted by Denise Schmidt on January 6, 2013
Dad, Leif!
We all love and miss you!

Aidan, Ian, Toy, Stella and Denise
Posted by Marian Kritzler on January 4, 2013
You are still missed. You must be so proud of Ian.
Posted by Debbie Ware on January 1, 2013
We always think of Leif on January 1st, Rob and he always shared something special on this day.
XO The Wares
Posted by Estrella Flores on December 18, 2012
Gracias por dar todo de ti
Posted by Matt Mosher on October 11, 2012
I never met Leif and I probably never would, I am from Canada and an in University. However, I am doing a project on online memorials and I chose this one randomly. After looking at what people said about him and looked at his pictures, I can see he was an amazing guy and a good friend and looked like and awesome dude. R.I.P man,
From a Canadian Snowboarder.
Posted by Liz Sampey on February 8, 2012
one year later- thinking of you Leif, hope you're getting many fluffy turns in the sky. :)
Posted by Paul Rondeau on January 7, 2012
You the man.....I will ski with you again. Give your self over to gravity.PEACE...
Posted by Mark Michaels on January 3, 2012
Happy Birthday Leif !
Posted by Judd Santry on April 3, 2011
Leif was our superhero. He was larger than life. It is difficult to look around A-Basin these days and not see the enormous impact he had on every inch of that mountain. He will be sorely missed...
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Ian Borgeson on February 8, 2020
Got some snow on my face today for us both.

Just like 9 years ago today :)
Posted by Lars Borgeson on January 1, 2020
Happy Birthday Leif!
Posted by Florence Borgeson on January 1, 2020
It doesn't get easier! Miss you! Dado is with you now and I hear you and him having loud conversations about many things! Love Ma
Recent stories


Shared by Estrella Flores on December 18, 2012



Shared by Andi Bell on February 8, 2012


One year later and the Winter Song still tugs at me when I hear it.  I thought I'd honor your memory today with a run at Waterville on the skis you borrowed last time you were here with Ian.  The ride up seemed longer today, still listening to every sheave and looking at every merge for problems as we always did.  I thought I'd be by myself but as I headed down with the sun at my back, there you were over every rise, as always, in front, seeing if we couldn't get just a little more out of each turn!  It was good to "see" you old friend and know your memory will never fade.


Coffee too hot?

Shared by Mark Campion on January 1, 2012

I remember one cold and nasty day up there at the Snow Plume Refuge back in February during Leif's rookie year. I was dispatching because I had the brown bottle flu from the night before. Leif was with us the whole night, but was able to operate the following day without any trouble at all. The coffee machine we had at the time wouldn't have passed FDA inspection for many reasons, but mostly it was a fire hazard. It boiled the coffee, it didn't brew it at all. You would drink it regardless, as it was a long cold trip to the bottom for coffee. Well, Leif asked me how the coffee was this morning, and I said that it is way too hot to even think about drinking, and that I wish somebody would fix the machine. He told me he didn't know much about the machine, and that he will find a new one. As far as the coffee being too hot, he told me to quit the whining, then he stuck his frozen leather glove fingers into it.

"you should be ready to go now." he told me, then he went back out into the cold with his leather fingers in his mouth as he ski'd into the fog.

He is a classic. Always was, always will be.