News Flash


Posted on: March 4, 2019

Local Telluride Backcountry Skier Killed in Avalanche --Second Avalanche Death in Two Weeks in Regi




Local Telluride Backcountry Skier Killed in Avalanche 

--Second Avalanche Death in Two Weeks in Region


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



March 4, 2019  -- (Telluride, CO) – A local Telluride man who was reported overdue from skiing in the backcountry Sunday was found today (Monday) just before 2pm by Search and Rescue teams. 

        The man was skiing in the greater Base Camp area, approximately 12 miles South of Telluride, with his dog Sunday morning. That afternoon his dog was found barking and in distress by the man’s vehicle parked at the Matterhorn Nordic parking lot. Deputies then learned that the man was overdue from his excursion.         

        A party who had been in the same backcountry area told Deputies he saw evidence of a slide, but did not see the missing man.

        Rescuers searched the area by air and located two significant avalanches. Rescuers then conducted a hasty search and while they located some equipment believed to be that of the missing party, they were not able to locate him because of incoming weather and nightfall. 

        This morning avalanche mitigation was delayed due to weather. In the early afternoon, Mountain Blade Runner and Telluride Helitrax were able to complete mitigation, and Search and Rescue members, Telluride Ski Patrollers and their Avalanche Dogs were inserted via helicopter into the field. 

         Telluride Avalanche dogs quickly alerted handlers to an area of interest and using pinpoint probes, rescuers were able to locate and recover the body of the missing man. He was found in a slide estimated to be 100 feet wide by 800 feet long on terrain on the west side of Yellow Mountain.

        A Colorado Avalanche Information Center spokesperson told the Sheriff’s Office that they classified the slide as “destructive and large enough to bury, injure or kill a person.”

        Sheriff Bill Masters said, “We are all deeply saddened to lose another husband, father and beloved member of our community in such a tragic event.” This is the second avalanche death in less than two weeks in the region. 

        A total of more than two dozen people were involved in the search over the last two days. 

        The San Miguel County Coroner will investigate the cause of death per protocols.

        Sheriff Masters is again reminding people, “Use extreme caution if you choose to ski in the backcountry.”




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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