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The original item was published from 2/20/2019 1:59:00 PM to 3/5/2019 11:03:11 AM.

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San Miguel County Sheriff News

Posted on: February 20, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Avalanche Claims Life of Telluride Backcountry Skier



Avalanche Claims Life of Telluride Backcountry Skier 


Contact:  Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer   970-729-2028



February 20, 2019  -- (Telluride, CO) – A Telluride backcountry skier was killed in a snowboarder-released avalanche Tuesday morning in the Bear Creek Preserve area in Telluride, Colorado. 


The victim was found by Search and Rescue and Telluride Ski Patrol with a probe line near the creek above the boulder at the top of the Bear Creek trail at approximately 1130am and identified as 47 year-old Salvadore Garcia-Atance. 


“Of course this is not the outcome any of us were hoping for and on behalf of myself and all of us involved in this mission, we extend our sincerest condolences to Mr. Garcia-Atance’s family,” Sheriff Bill Masters said. 


The slide occurred some time between 10 and 11am Tuesday in the Tempter area of Bear Creek a couloir off the Telluride Ski area and ran approximately 75 feet wide leaving a debris field 300 feet long and 15 to 20 feet deep. 


Mr. Garcia-Atance was reportedly skinning up the Bear Creek Trail having started his ascent from the trailhead in the Town of Telluride. 

A two-hour ground search was done in the area with rescuers and Telluride Avalanche dog teams late Tuesday for two hours to no avail. 


The search resumed early this morning (Wednesday) with dozens of rescuers, avalanche dogs and assistance from Telluride Helitrax helicopters. 


Sheriff Masters said, “We could not have done this mission without the cooperation and expertise of our volunteers, Telluride Ski Patrol, Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Telluride Helitrax. We appreciate all of the people and agencies who came together.”


Bear Creek Trail is reopened but with the caution that with the new snow expected, avalanche danger will continue. “Whether you are walking your dog, skinning up, or backcountry skiing, Bear Creek is not a safe place to be,” Sheriff Masters said.


The death is under investigation.




The San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, located in Telluride, Colorado and established in 1883, serves 7,800 residents and countless visitors across the 1,288 square miles of San Miguel County. Sheriff Bill Masters has been serving as the county’s elected Sheriff since 1980

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