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Backcountry skier killed in avalanche near Telluride

A 47-year-old man has died after getting caught in a snowboarder-released avalanche Tuesday near Telluride Resort.

TELLURIDE, Colo. — A backcountry skier was killed in a snowboarder-released avalanche Tuesday morning in the Bear Creek Preserve area of Telluride. 

The avalanche occurred sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and ran about 75 feet wide – leaving a debris field 300 feet long and 15 to 20 feet deep, according to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office. 

The victim, identified as 47-year-old Salvadore Garcia-Atance, was found Wednesday by search and rescue crews with the help of a probe line near the top of Bear Creek Trail.  

“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,” San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters said. 

Garcia-Atance was reportedly skinning up the Bear Creek Trail when the avalanche was triggered. A two-hour ground search was conducted late Tuesday to no avail. 

The search resumed early Wednesday morning and included dozens of rescuers, avalanche dogs and Telluride Helitrax helicopters. The death is under investigation. 

Bear Creek Trail has reopened but with the caution that, with new snow expected, avalanche danger will continue. 

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