FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Backcountry Skier Injured and Rescued in Bear Creek
Contact: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer 970-729-2028
March 5, 2016 -- (Telluride, CO) – San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue personnel rescued an injured backcountry skier Saturday afternoon from the Bear Creek area in Telluride.
The 23 year-old Telluride man told Sheriff’s Deputies that he began his descent down the San Joaquin chute in upper Bear Creek around 11am this morning with a friend. He reported that he skied about one-third of the way down to a narrow spot, hit some rocks and lost his balance, and tumbled the remaining two-thirds down the chute.
A hiker in the area saw the incident, which occurred at approximately 1pm, and called Telluride Ski Patrol who then communicated with San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office. A Search and Rescue (SAR) team was immediately activated.
Two SAR members skied to the injured man, assessed and packaged him, while a third SAR member was picked up by a Helitrax helicopter and transported to the scene. The patient was transported via Helitrax helicopter to the Telluride Airport where a Telluride EMS ambulance and crew were standing by.
Sheriff Deputy Mike Kimball, Jr. said the SAR mission was very efficient. “Operationally, things could not have gone much better. Weather wasn’t a factor and we had good access to the skier.”
The man was wearing a helmet and had an avalanche beacon.
Sheriff Bill Masters said this man is lucky the rescue mission was uncomplicated. “We were able to get to him, and he didn’t have to spend the night out there cold and injured. The next guy might not be so lucky,” Sheriff Masters said. “Do not ski into Bear Creek if you are not prepared for self-rescue, period.”
Telluride EMS treated and transported the man to the Telluride Medical Center just after 3pm for further assessment and treatment. He did not appear to have life-threatening injuries.
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.