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Legendary Telluride backcountry snowboarder Gabe Wright dies in accident in Bear Creek

Posted at 10:16 AM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-26 12:16:34-05

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Telluride backcountry snowboarding legend Gabe Wright died Sunday in an accident that happened while he was riding in the backcountry with two friends.

Wright, 47, had been snowboarding below Nellie Mine in the Bear Creek backcountry when the accident happened, the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

He was the third in the group of three to make the run around 2 p.m., “when he had an unwitnessed event resulting in his death,” the sheriff’s office said.

The news release said it is believed Wright possibly clipped a rock while riding at a high rate of speed, fell, and hit a log buried under the snow because of “evidence on scene and on his snowboard.” There were no signs of an avalanche at the scene.

Both of his CPR-certified friends hiked back up to Wright, which took about 30 minutes, and found him unresponsive. They performed CPR for 30 minutes but were unable to revive Wright.

Search and rescue crews flew into the area to extricate Wright, and he was pronounced dead.

Wright was among the snowboarding pioneers in the backcountry surrounding Telluride, and he was the first to ride several new lines in the area, including several near Bear Creek and Wasatch Peak.

“Gabe was a long-time local and avid backcountry snowboarder, and he will be missed,” said San Miguel County sheriff’s deputy Chris White, who assisted in the search and rescue mission.

San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters said Wright’s death was “a terrible loss” for Wright’s family and the Telluride community, and cautioned backcountry skiers and snowboarders.

“We have this great white shark out there that’s a serious threat and it’s called Bear Creek,” Masters said.

Wright’s death was the second skier or snowboarder death of the day in Colorado Sunday. A skier died at Keystone after hitting a tree.