WESTERN SLOPE: Local skier hospitalized after fall at Wilson Peak

Plaindealer Staff Report



A Ridgway outdoorsman was hospitalized Thursday, April 24, after falling at least 1,000 feet while skiing on Wilson Peak outside of Telluride.


Joe Ryan, owner of the San Juan Hut Systems, was skiing with two companions on the north-facing couloir at approximately 12,500 feet when he fell, the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office reported. 

According to the report, two more skiers in the area came to the scene to offer assistance. Witnesses said there was no evidence of a snow slide being a factor in the incident.

SMSO responded to a 911 call just after noon on Thursday. The four-hour rescue operation included nearly two dozen deputies and search and rescue personnel as well as contracted helicopters from Classic Lifeguard Helicopter out of Moab and Olathe Spray Services. Sheriff Bill Masters said that the helicopters were “essential” in the rescue mission.

“Once we safely got rescue personnel on the ground and made patient contact, we confirmed that we would need to package and transport the patient to a more secure landing zone,” said Masters.

Classic Lifeguard transported Ryan to the Telluride Regional Airport where Flight Medics treated and prepared him for helicopter transport to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.

Ryan is reported to have sustained severe injuries, including internal head bleeding. 

Wilson Peak is located about 11 miles southwest of Telluride and is the highest point in San Miguel County at 14,017 feet.