Search continues for missing skier in Colorado forest |

Search continues for missing skier in Colorado forest

the associated press
A search and rescue team from Delta County including Jim Benback, center, prepare to search for missing Grand Junction cross-country skiier Dan Walker, near the Mesa Lakes Ski Area in Grand Junction, Colo., Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2005. (AP Photo/Grand Junction Free Press, Jim Noelker)

DENVER ” Crews in a helicopter, on snowmobiles and on snowshoes searched again Wednesday for a cross-country skier missing for almost three days in the forests of a western Colorado plateau.

A second skier missing since Sunday in southwestern Colorado was found safe after a search helicopter crew spotted him Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Dan Walker, 54, left his wife and daughter Sunday night after they got lost during a ski outing, hoping to find help. He hasn’t been seen since, and a full-scale search resumed at about dawn Wednesday, said Susan McBurney, the Mesa County sheriff’s office spokeswoman.

Rescue crews found Debra Walker, the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, Camille, and their dog shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. The women were picked up in an area about 3 1/2 miles from the Mesa Lakes Lodge at about 9,800 feet after huddling together with their dog under a tree.

They were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where a spokeswoman said Camille was treated and released. Debra Walker was listed in fair condition.

Dan Walker told his family he had seen some car lights and was going to get help, McBurney said.

“He did leave a lot of gear with the two women,” she said. “We don’t know how much more gear he had for himself.”

Rescuers used snowmobiles and snowshoes Tuesday to search for Walker through 8-foot-deep snow and used a reverse 911 call to ask residents near the search area to check any remote buildings on their property. Rescuers were in a race with time to find him before a cold front arrived in Colorado on Wednesday with subzero temperatures.

“This individual has been out in the conditions for the past two nights,” McBurney said. “The longer he’s out there, the more at risk he is.”

Much of western Colorado has been slammed by a series of storms.

More than 10 feet of snow has fallen in some areas of the mountains, including 8 feet on the 10,500-foot mesa 170 miles west of Denver since Saturday.

Heavy snow was falling on Grand Mesa again late Tuesday, with winds gusting to 30 mph ” enough to rule out a helicopter search.

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