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Colorado: Snowboarder dies in Telluride avalanche

Avalanche deaths in Colorado by county, 1950 - 2011. COURTESY CAIC.

The Bear Creek drainage turns deadly once again

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported the fifth avalanche death of the season, as a snowboarder died in the Bear Creek backcountry near Telluride on a day when the avalanche danger was rated as high, with both natural and triggered slides likely.

According to the preliminary CAIC report, the solo snowboarder, identified by the Telluride Watch as Nate Soules, was traveling alone. He was carried about 800 vertical feet in steep, rocky terrain.

Soules was wearing an avalung breathing device and an avalanche floatation device. Both were deployed, but “damaged beyond use in the avalanche,” according to the CAIC.

Two riders from a different group came upon the avalanche and performed a companion rescue, but the victim was already deceased.

The U.S. Forest Service closed the Bear Creek area in the late 1980s after a series of avalanche deaths. A local group of backcountry access advocates pressed to regain access to the slide-prone area until it was finally re-opened.

More details on the accident are online at the Telluride Watch website.

According to a statement released by San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, Soules was an expert skier who formerly worked for Telluride Ski and Golf. He is survived by his parents, a wife and a son.

The four previous Colorado deaths this season occurred in a five-day span between Jan. 18 and Jan. 22. Details on the accidents are online at this CAIC web page.

 

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3 Responses

  1. Condolences to his family. Equipment damaged beyond use. Perhaps the area should be closed again, before more deaths occur, in this case, the thrill is gone.

  2. Norman are you serious? And should Perdue Pharm be forced to stop making Oxy because kids choose to inject it? A death, especially an untimely one, is always terrible but where’s the nod to personal freedoms and responsibility?

    • With all due respect Kim, your analogy is wrong! If you read the story, you would have noticed that the U.S.F.S. had closed the area in the 1980′s due to avalanche deaths. I replied that “perhaps” the area should be closed again, before there are more deaths. The use of “OXY” isn’t just the exclusive use by kids alone nor are the deaths from it either, as is the injecting of same. This man was an experienced skier/boarder, had the right equipment, but he still died in an avalanche in that area. A life was lost, a Son, Husband, Father, was lost, never to be shared with his family again. That is what I referred to, not what you apparently mistook my comment to be. I don’t care to argue the issue, but I felt you should be aware as to why I wrote what I did. Have a nice day.

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