The San Joaquin Couloir is a bucket list item for skiers around the world. Viewed from atop Telluride Ski Resort, the couloir bisects San Joaquin Peak, running over 1,000 vertical feet to the basin below. However, like many of the bigger lines in the United States, deathly consequences are inherent in its natural beauty.
One skier became intimately familiar with that danger this past Saturday after falling through the majority of the 1,000 vertical foot couloir reports the Telluride Daily Planet. According to the article, 23 year-old Derek Nunner was skiing the couloir when around 1/3 of the way down, he struck a rock and tumbled to the bottom. Luckily, a hiker in the area witnessed the accident and proceeded to call Search and Rescue officials who ultimately skied to the victim and assessed the accident.
SAR officials called in Telluride Helitrax to assist with the rescue. Nunner was then transported by helicopter to Telluride Regional Airport, where an ambulance then transported him to the Telluride Medical Center. He was later released with non life threatening injuries.
“Do not ski into Bear Creek if you are not prepared for self-rescue, period.”– San Miguel County Sheriff, Bill Masters
Since the accident, Sheriff Bill Masters warned skiers that if they are not prepared to self-rescue, they should not be there. He elaborated on that point by saying, “If something happens, it’s just going to be by the grace of other people that you get rescued.”