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Telluride ski lifts, Bear Creek Trail closed as rescuers search for skier after avalanche

Posted at 8:09 AM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 13:57:43-05

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY, Colo. — Several ski lifts at Telluride and Bear Creek Trail are closed while rescuers search for a missing backcountry skier who may have been injured or caught in an avalanche Tuesday.

The Telluride man was reported overdue at 4:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Multiple authorities, including deputies, search and rescue personnel, Telluride ski patrollers and two avalanche dogs were mobilized to search for the man. He reportedly entered Bear Creek from town to skin up.

Deputies learned that a slide had occurred late Tuesday morning in the Tempter area of Bear Creek, in a steep, narrow gully off the Telluride Ski area. The avalanche was believed to have been caused by snowboarders riding out of the ski area and into the preserve. Tuesday’s slide was about 75 feet wide, and left a debris field 300 feet long and 15-20 feet deep.

Rescuers searched the area for two hours Tuesday in the late afternoon and into the evening, but the man was not found.

Search efforts resumed at sunrise with help from Telluride Helitrax helicopters.

On Wednesday morning, the sheriff’s office said lifts 14, 6 and 9 at Telluride will be closed for most of the day as rescuers continue to search for the man. Depending on the public’s cooperation with not entering Bear Creek, those lifts may reopen today, the office said.