Posted on: February 25, 2018

Fatality in Telluride's Bear Creek Backcountry


Fatality in Telluride’s Bear Creek Backcountry


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


February 25, 2018 -- (Telluride, CO) – A San Miguel County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) crew was dispatched to a report of an unresponsive, pulseless snowboarder in Telluride’s Bear Creek backcountry Sunday afternoon. 

 San Miguel County Coroner confirmed identification of the man as 47 year-old Gabriel Wright of Telluride. Mr. Wright was snowboarding with two friends in the Bear Creek backcountry below Nellie Mine. 

 Mr. Wright, who was considered a professional level backcountry boarder, was the third of the three to descend from Nellie Mine at around 2pm Sunday when he had an unwitnessed event resulting in his death.

 Evidence on scene and on his snowboard indicated that he may have clipped a rock in shallow snow at a high rate of speed, was thrown forward and impacted a small log under some snow. 

 His friends (who are both CPR certified) told Deputies it took them 30 minutes to reach him and when they could not detect a pulse, they performed CPR for at least 30 minutes, but Mr. Wright could not be revived. 

 SAR with assistance from an Olathe Spray Helicopter and pilot flew into the area to extricate the man. There was no avalanche detected.


 Deputy Chris White who was part of the SAR mission said, “Gabe was a long-time local and avid backcountry snowboarder, and he will be missed.”

 Sheriff Bill Masters said “This is a terrible loss for Mr. Wright’s family and our community.” 

 Sheriff Masters said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t remind people of the dangers of venturing into the backcountry. We have this great white shark out there that’s a serious threat and it’s called Bear Creek.”



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

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email