Skiing Colorado's iconic fourteeners is a bucket list item for many. The highest summits found around the state, these mountains offer some of the best views and big powder lines that often go untouched. That being said, with extreme terrain comes extreme risk.
According to the San Miguel County Sheriff, deputies were called to the Wilson Peak area near Telluride following the report of a skier-involved accident. It was soon discovered that a 37-year-old male from New Mexico had taken a fall while skiing the north face of Wilson Peak, resulting in a 2,000-foot tumble down the mountain. The skier was with a partner at the time, though the accident carried him out of view after the accident occurred near the top of the mountain. Because of this, the partner was unsure of the fallen skier's status.
Upon arrival, the skier was located and it was determined that air rescue would be needed. The skier was flown via helicopter to Telluride Regional Airport with multiple traumatic injuries. He was then taken to the Telluride Medical Center. Though traumatic and severe, his injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening.
In total, a dozen personnel were involved in the rescue, with the mission taking a total of five hours.
If entering Colorado's backcountry, it's important to utilize safety tools such as an emergency GPS communication device, such as the Garmin inReach. This can allow for a quick response in a time-sensitive situation. It's also important to have avalanche safety equipment and be highly aware of the forecast, as well as current avalanche risk.
Wilson Peak is located in the Lizard Head Wilderness of the Uncompahgre National Forest, reaching a peak elevation of 14,023 feet. It's part of the northwestern San Juan Mountains, found in southwest Colorado.
Editor’s Note: Help fund search and rescue missions across the state of Colorado by purchasing a CORSAR card at ihelpsearch.org. This is not an insurance card. By purchasing a card, you are helping reimburse teams for costs incurred in providing help to lost and injured hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, hunters, ATV riders, skiers, snowboarders, and more.