Rescue crews responded Tuesday to a backcountry skier injured in an avalanche in Dolores County near Rico, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The injured skier was caught in the slide, which occurred in sparse trees on Telescope Mountain at 11,400 feet, northeast of Rico.
The skier was part of a party of three, and the slide was skier-triggered, according to the CAIC.
Dolores County Search and Rescue, Rico Search and Rescue and San Miguel Search and Rescue teams responded to the incident. The victim was evacuated by helicopter, and the person’s identity and injuries were not released.
An on-scene forecaster from The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has posted preliminary information on the CAIC website. CAIC forecasters will complete a more detailed investigation and update the report as they collect more information.
Specifics on what led to the release of the avalanche are forthcoming. According to a Rico resident, a rescue helicopter was seen in the Telescope Mountain area about noon.
The steep, rugged area of the incident is not accessible by snowmobile.
Tuesday, avalanche risk in the North San Juan Mountains around Rico was considered “moderate” above treeline and below treeline, according to CAIC.
The moderate rating is a Level 2 on the five-level scale. Moderate danger is defined as heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain types.
According to the avalanche center, new snow rests on crusts in some places, providing a slick sliding surface that allows slides to travel farther than normal.
Weak layers buried 2-3 feet deep on northwest through northeast to east-facing slopes have also been stressed by the load.
“These slides may be stubborn, but if you manage to find the “not so sweet” spot, avalanches could break two to three feet deep leading to a dangerous ride,” the avalanche center said.