The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has determined that an avalanche on February 19th that killed 47-year-old Salvadore Garcia-Atance was triggered by three snowboarders who illegally ducked a boundary rope at the ski resort and crossed into a permanently closed-off area.
According to the report, the snowboarders crossed into closed-off area to ride the east face of Temptation Bowl. The avalanche was released when the third snowboarder was descending the slope.
Below is part of the report from the CAIC
Events Leading to the Avalanche
Skier 1 left the town of Telluride around 9:00 AM on the morning of February 19. He planned a casual ski for exercise on the Bear Creek trail. He traveled uphill on alpine tour skis and climbing skins.
Around 10:30 AM, three snowboarders crossed the boundary of the Telluride Ski Resort into the Bear Creek drainage. Their intention was to ride a slope locally known as Temptation-East Face that feeds into an avalanche path called Temptation. Rider 1 crossed the boundary across from Alpino Vino, an on-mountain restaurant at the Telluride Ski Resort. He stopped in an open area near the top of Temptation-East Face where he spotted as Riders 2 and 3 descended a slope a bit further to the south.
Riders 2 and 3 rode the slope one at a time without incident.They both stopped at a landmark known as Big Tree, a common regrouping point. Big Tree is about one third of the way to the valley bottom, above the entrance to Temptation. Riders 2 and 3 called Rider 1 on radios, and he began his descent.
Rider 1 saw cracking on his second or third turn. The cracks shot across the entire slope and the avalanche released. He was caught in the middle of the slab. He rode at a 45 degree angle to the fall-line to get out of the moving snow. Over the radio he yelled “get safe, get safe” to his friends below. Rider 1 described feeling that he was starting to get sucked into the avalanche, but he was able to stay on his feet and ride out of the moving snow.
The avalanche barreled down the open slope, missing Riders 2 and 3. The avalanche funneled into Temptation avalanche path and ran to the valley bottom. It produced a large powder cloud.
The three riders made radio contact and confirmed that everyone was OK. Rider 1 then rode the firm bed surface to Big Tree to regroup with Riders 2 and 3. From Big Tree the riders entered Temptation one at a time and worked their way to the valley bottom without further incident.
The snowboarders were not named in the report.