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 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...
Posted by scott s on March 12, 2011
I worked with Leif at the National Ski Patrol. I missed him when he left, and was sad to read about his death. My thoughts are with the family.
Posted by Jim Hobson on March 6, 2011
I haven't talked to Lief since we were in college together in the early 1980's in Minneapolis. I'll always be grateful to him for helping make my first big nature adventures happen. Looks like he never stopped getting as much adventure out of life as he could. Thanks for helping me to push myself, Lief.
Posted by Shaka Martin on March 5, 2011
Thanx for the coffee, and the inspiration Leif!
I'll always remember your coffee talks, your 5th cup during my first o the day at 7am. Much love!!
Posted by Jim Stegmaier on March 2, 2011
I remember those early days at the Snowbowl with JD, Sean & Jacquie. We were all so young then. We moved on to bigger & better. You got to be the best in what you did. Happy forever skiing Leif.
Jim & Jacquie Stegmaier
Posted by Vanessa Woodford on February 28, 2011
Dear Denise, Ian and Aiden,
Very shocked to learn of Leif's passing. Thinking
of you and your family. May he be floating on powder
right now!
Posted by Matt Speier on February 27, 2011
I never met Leif and never knew the man but as a fellow ski patroller my heart felt condolences go out to his family.
Posted by Flo Rutherford on February 27, 2011
I had the pleasure of working with Leif during the editing and CD production for the NSP Instructor Developement program. He was always positive, upbeat and energized. Someone never to be forgotten.
Posted by Daniel Rogers on February 22, 2011
Leifer- I'll never forget your infectious smile, beard encased in ice on those early mornings, nor will I ever cease to be amazed by your herculean strength hiking up the East Wall with a pack full of crackers. We are all blessed to have had you as a friend- we're all better for the time together- and we'll live the rest of our lives inspired by and thankful for the memories.Thanks bud!
Posted by Elizabeth Hanning on February 18, 2011
I didn't have the honor of meeting Leif personally, but he was angel to our family. He rescued a loved one after a very serious chair-lift accident at A-Basin 18 years ago. We will be eternally grateful. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
Posted by Scott Powers on February 18, 2011
You will be forever missed Leif. A true Legend, a Super Hero for sure!! Your spirit and soul will live on!! When I look high on the divide, I see you you cutting endless lines of powder. I feel so honored to have known you!! Your sons will fill your boots and become the next super heros that they allready are!! My hat comes off to you Leif. Wish all family and friends strength.
Posted by Darcy Hanley on February 18, 2011
Leif, thank you for your amazing contribution to those who have lived, skied and played in Summit county. The national office of the National Ski Patrol is indebted to your level of committment your showed to our NSP members. Missed 4 ever!
Posted by jim repsher on February 18, 2011
I met Leif through Mel Stewart in 1990 when I was trying to get permission to patrol on tele gear at Copper. His enthusiasm was infectious. As the years went by and ambulance, patrol and other jobs fluxed and families were created, Leif was always a source of inspiration. (and reminder of what a "real man" was) I last saw him at RM 224 in the Grand Canyon 8/10. I'll remember the smile forever!
Posted by Annette Williams on February 17, 2011
I never met you or your husband, Leif, but I lost my love on January 15th, 2011, in a similar way. My heart goes out to you and your sons. My only words of comfort are your love left this life like mine did, doing what they love. I am not the kind of person that will give your platitudes. But, take comfort in th fact that he passed from this life in a place that he loved.

Posted by Phyllis Bradford on February 17, 2011
I worked with Leif in the ER one winter. During a wild and crazy shift one night, he broke out into the theme song for Sponge Bob SquarePants to me. I laughed like a lunatic, made my night! Leif leaves a legacy of two wonderful sons, and a very special person by the name of Denise. She saw a shooting star the other night and believes it was Leif telling her he was ok. I believe as well.
Posted by Dale Atkins on February 17, 2011
From bikes to mtns to snow & avalanches to rescue we talked, occasionally we even skied a run or two. Our conversations usually started with work stuff, but we always talked about our families, too. Leif taught and shared not only knowledge but wisdom, which was always accompanied by a twinkle in his eyes and an infectious smile, which got brighter and bigger when he talked about his family. RIP
Posted by Kurt Hammann on February 17, 2011
PASSIONATE about life! That is what you taught me. I will never forget.
Posted by Marco Grob on February 17, 2011
My heart goes out to Leif's family, friends and colleagues. The county will not be the same without him.
Posted by Larry Beverly on February 17, 2011
Larry and Carol Beverly will always remember what a fine man Leif was and will always be. Gone from the present, but always with us in spirit. Leif just opened another door and has achieved a higher calling. The good and the brave don't rest they just kick it up a notch. Keep climbing Leif.....the sky is not the limit for men like you!
Posted by paul rondeau on February 17, 2011
Jamie,Danielle,Zach & my self will miss you much. I always loved to Rassell you! I never saw you waist a minute of life. We are better people to have known you & your family. The mountains will seem smaller with out you......Live each day as if it were a good day to die.....You will always be my brother, be at peace.....
Posted by ski patol on February 17, 2011
Thank you Leif for all the hard work. You were always there to take care of us when we needed help. You were one great skier and a great man. Legendary in your physical strength. Save some snow up there in skier's heaven and say hi to all of our other friends that have passed on. Tele George& your friends from the Mad River Glen Ski Patrol.
Posted by Tom Brennom on February 16, 2011
Although I only met Leif a few times, he obviously impacted many people in his short life. As he is looking down on us, may he have comfort in the lives he has touched.
Posted by Tim Green on February 16, 2011
I never knew Leif but my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. The next time Im' at A Basin I will say a prayer at the top of the mountain for him. Rest in piece.
Posted by John Tufano on February 16, 2011
Leif - Unfortunately I did not get to know you as well as others at the Basin may have know you, but I knew you well enough to recognize that your untimely passing will forever leave a hole in the fabric creating the magic and atmosphere that is A-Basin. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends.
Posted by Gwen O'Roark on February 16, 2011
A great man through and'll be missed...loved running into him at our annual Gruberfest proud of his sons;showed us the pix on his desktop early in the morning, even though it was a busy morning...god bless...You'll be remembered forever :~)
Brook, Gwen and Allison O'Roark
Posted by Gene Bowers on February 16, 2011
I was catering an event at the Basin and the door opened and there was Leif. He asked if I needed anything or any help. Usually when someone asks this it is out of courtesy and I'll say no thanks but thank you. With Leif, I could tell from the look he gave and the way he said it, he sincerely meant it. And what a help he was! I will never forget it. God bless you Leif.
Posted by Mark Michaels on February 15, 2011
Leif was the type of patroller and person I aspired to be when I lived in Summit County. He was so A-Basin: hard as a rock, funky, happy, real Colorado. Hugs to everyone at A-Basin and Keystone.
Posted by Bill Hahn on February 15, 2011
RIP for Leif means “Ripping In Powder” (I can't picture him resting!). Somewhere he’s trying to characterize stuff that has 0% water content and is infinitely deep. Thanks, Leif, for breaking so many trails, and establishing new staircases to excellence in all aspects of patrolling. Afterlife, beware this in the hole!
Posted by Greg Steffensen on February 15, 2011
Leif was a real gem. One time we went to see The English Beat. The concert was gettin' rowdy, the moshin' was heatin' up, then I couldn't find him. A few minutes later there he was on stage, without his spectacles, and he promptly stage dove into the crowd! A hearty laugh was had by all. Love to Denise and family, Lars and parents. Mountain Del Boys forever! Peace and Love, Stef
Posted by Mark Campion on February 15, 2011
You are always going to be in my memory. I remember the day we went to work together way back when. We risked our lives and learned about one another through our passion to be out in the snowy folds. I was fortunate enough to watch you excel in your craft, as well as grow proud as a father husband and friend of many. The thing about you is that you left an impression on many. Tears flow. Luv Campo
Posted by QX Bobo Persons on February 14, 2011
A patrol brother here in Flag said "He was in pretty good shape, wasn't he?"
I answered "He was made of steel. He was a (expletive deleted) superhero." 

In body and mind Leif was a hero. Unstoppable optimism, dedication and the endurance to see anything through.

My daughters reminded me again today that I'll see him again. Requiescat in pace.
Posted by kristy Kelton-Gruber on February 14, 2011
Mom, Leif is a Really great guy I am sorry I do not get to see him again.. (Kaileen Gruber) 5yrs old
Posted by Dan Moroz on February 13, 2011
Leif, it was an honor and a pleasure to have known and worked with you. Altho your tenure at Copper was short I appreciated your professionalism and dedication to the world of ski patroling, snow safety, along with your friendship. Rest in peace my friend.
Posted by Brian Biebl on February 13, 2011
I had the pleasure of working with Leif at Keystone Ski Patrol in the late 80s. We spent a lot of time together keeping the snowmobiles running and helping to keep the mountain safe. Leif was a special person with more than most's share of personality and one tough guy! Hard to keep up with that one!! He will be sadly missed!- Brian Biebl
Posted by john dowling on February 13, 2011
I remember how psyched Leif was to ski 3 inches of snow encrusted in an inch of ice when we went back East. He was a real mountain goat and always in his element. We'll miss him!
Posted by Dave Fernandez on February 13, 2011
"The Snowman" may be gone, but not forgotten! Farewell My Friend - Farewell
Posted by John Bolotin on February 13, 2011
We shared some great times and a heck of alot of laughs together while on Keystone Patrol. You will be missed
Posted by jenn mcconnell on February 13, 2011
Thank you for all the fun times at Keystone and at Copper. It was a lucky day for me when you taught me how to run a rig on teles!!!  You are a super star and will be so missed!
Posted by Ray Sword on February 12, 2011
Leif ... I will never forget you! You were always an inspiration to me. You will be greatly missed by many. Thanks for turning me on to Oakly prescription glasses. I will wear them every day in your honor!

R.I.P. Bro!
Posted by John Bottomley on February 11, 2011
I was hanging out with Leif in his office one day last year and he's getting ready to head out... I say to him "be good". He turns to me and says "Be obsiquious, purple, and clairvoyant". 

I'm gonna miss that guy.
Posted by Scott Astaldi on February 11, 2011
Leif was always the most psyched and the most motivated for any project or adventure, thanks for the motivation and good times. Scott and Jen
Posted by nathan post on February 11, 2011
I'll never forget riding the east wall with Leif before it opened, he made me carry up a bunch of bamboo poles but it was worth every turn. We had a good time that day.
Posted by Emily Woessner on February 11, 2011
Leif was an amazing family friend, a second dad, an awesome skier and overall bad ass. he always knew how to put a smile on my face and every time i would bump into him he would give me a hug. nothing will replace Lief, but the memories will always stay in my heart. thanks for being there for me, not only as a co-worker from years past but as a second dad when i needed advice. god gave you wings.
Posted by Kelli Deeter on February 11, 2011
Leif taught me everything I need to know to keep my VW bus running. He gave me encouragement and inspiration to work in France. Thanks for the laughs and your endless strength.
Posted by Larry Grossman on February 11, 2011
I can't even think of a bad memory if I try and this is your legacy Leif. Your friends, family and Legend teammates will carry that with them forever...damn, you were a good one. Thank you for everything.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Ian Borgeson on January 31, 2021
I miss you pops. I miss all the memories we could've had. Having a beer after a pow day, wrenching (just like you loved), seeing your sons and wife grow, grieving Toy, just relaxing after a hard day. Memories I will always miss. Hope you are ok wherever you are. I Love you.
Posted by Denise Schmidt on January 1, 2021
Hey Leif! You are 60 today. Woo hoo!!! I think of you each day. You are forever missed:)).
Posted by Ian Borgeson on January 1, 2021
Happy Birthday pops! Would've been 60 today. Can't believe it. Hope you're getting some turns wherever you are.
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.