One skier has died and another had to be rescued following two separate incidents over the past four days near the Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado.
The first incident occurred at the famed San Joaquin Couloir in the backcountry near the ski resort around 11 a.m. on Saturday. A 23-year-old Telluride man, named Derek Nunner, made it roughly one-third of the way down the notoriously steep chute before striking a rock and tumbling nearly 1,000 vertical feet to the bottom of the slope.
A hiker in the area witnessed the fall and called emergency services. Two rescue workers skied to Nunner and were assisted by a third search and rescue member in evacuating Nunner via helicopter to the Telluride Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with non-life-threatening injuries.
“We were able to get to him, and he didn't have to spend the night out there cold and injured. The next guy might not be so lucky,” Sheriff Bill Masters said in a statement about the rescue. “Do not ski into [the area] if you are not prepared for self-rescue, period.”
The same good fortune wasn’t present on Wednesday, when 49-year-old William Scott Elligott of Colorado Springs died while skiing the Gold Hill section of Telluride. Per police reports, Elligott was skiing with his 20-year-old daughter when his skis released on a flat section of the mountain. He tumbled out of her sight down a steep and wooded section of Gold Hill, according to the Denver Post.
“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family,” Masters said in a statement regarding Elligott’s death.
Authorities said it was Elligott’s first time skiing Telluride. He was on a trip to ski several of the areas across the state with his daughter when he died.
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