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Advanced Preparation Helps Skier Survive 300+ Foot Avalanche

TELLURIDE, Colo. (CBS4) – A skier took quite a ride after he got caught in a snow slide near Telluride.

The incident happened Wednesday outside Telluride Ski Resort.

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

Authorities say the man likely triggered the avalanche, got caught in it and wound up being carried 300 to 500 feet. He only stopped when he hit a tree and then came to rest against a second tree.

He was buried neck deep in snow, but fortunately he had good equipment and was rescued by his skiing partners within minutes.

San Miguel County Sheriff deputies were called to the scene outside the Telluride Ski Resort Tuesday morning. Deputies say four experienced backcountry skiers were left from the backcountry gate above Telluride‚Äôs Revelation Bowl shortly after the ski area opened. They told a deputy they skied to the “E Ticket” area near the historic Nellie Mine.

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

One skier skied down a hillside safely and moved to a safe zone. When the second skier dropped in and began to make turns next to his partner’s turns, the slope above him began to break. He was swept off his feet and pulled down the slope. He told the deputy he deployed his airbag as soon as he realized he was in an avalanche. That cushioned the impact.

When he finally stopped, his skiing partners used their avalanche beacons to find him. They got to him quickly and helped him get out of all the snow. The skier wasn’t hurt, but lost both his skis and poles.

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

San Miguel Sheriff Deputy Chris White responded to the incident and said the skiers’ preparation really made a difference.

“Training, proper equipment and the ability to self-rescue were key factors in keeping this event from having a tragic outcome,” White said.

The names of the skiers involved have not been released.


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