A backcountry skier was killed in Telluride by an avalanche on Tuesday between 10 and 11 AM. The skier was in the Bear Creek Preserve area when a snowboarder-released avalanche swept through, burying the skier.

The avalanche was approximately 75 feet wide, leaving a 300-foot long debris field with a depth of 15 to 20 feet.

The victim has been identified as 47-year-old Savadore Garcia-Atance.

Avalanche in Bear Creek area of Telluride. Photo Credit: San Miguel County Sheriff's Office via Twitter.
Avalanche in Bear Creek area of Telluride. Photo Credit: San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter.

Garcia-Atance was reported to be skinning up on Bear Creek Trail prior to the avalanche, a route that starts in the town of Telluride.

The Bear Creek Preserve backcountry area is frequently entered from above by skiers and snowboarders at Telluride Ski Resort.

Two lifts were shut down at Telluride for the safety of search crews and will likely now reopen.

Here’s a warning that’s been issued by Sheriff Bill Masters: “Whether you are walking your dog, skinning up, or backcountry skiing, Bear Creek is not a safe place to be.”

This is the 14th skier/snowboarder death that has occurred this season, several of which have been avalanche related – by our count, five.  The 13 other deaths of the 2018-19 season include two recent avalanche-related deaths near Crested Butte, a death at an Aspen terrain park, a backcountry touring death in Aspen, a death at Granby during night skiing, the death of a skier on Quandary Peak, the death of a 71-year-old at Breckenridge, a recent avalanche-related death, 21-year-old Daniel Giger (accident at Breckenridge), 26-year-old Bill Brockmuller (collision at Eldora), 53-year-old Daniel Mares of Arvada (cardiac event at Keystone Resort), 66-year-old Durwood Marshall of Silverthorne (cardiac event at Keystone Resort), and Bindu Sky Pomeroy (accident in Vail backcountry).

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