Montrose Fresh
Montrose Fresh
Feb 5, 2021
Search teams located bodies of three people taken by avalanche on Monday
Play • 8 min

Welcome to Montrose Fresh, from The Montrose Daily Press. It’s Friday February 5th, and we’re here with local news, events, announcements, jobs, and more that matter to us here in Western Colorado. 

Today - Search teams have located the bodies of three people who were buried under about 20 feet of snow and debris from a Monday avalanche. 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Elevate Internet. Whether it’s for your home or your business they offer the best speeds at the best price. Right now, if you refer a friend you can get $25 off! Give them a call for more information at 844-386-8744 or visit them at

Before we begin, we’d like to highlight The Montrose Center for the Arts who will be hosting Wine & Roses, a live piano concert tonight from 5-7.

The live concert will be limited to 30 guests in the studio’s gallery. Tickets are $20 each or $30 per couple. Following the concert, guests can go to the Stone House to receive a special pre-made take out meal for $30. Tickets are available on their website at Masking and social distancing rules will be observed.

Now, our feature story.

Search teams have located the bodies of three people who were buried under about 20 feet of snow and debris from a Monday avalanche. The avalanche swept down as they skied the backcountry between Silverton and Ouray.

The victims had not been publicly identified as of Wednesday night.

The three were in a group skiing near Mineral Creek and Ophir Pass on Monday, near a feature known as The Nose. While they were there, an avalanche was triggered from an elevation of about 11,500 feet. It carried them away, along with a fourth member of the group.

The other skiers were able to locate the fourth person. That person reportedly sustained minor injuries.

Search and rescue teams from multiple jurisdictions responded to search for the missing skiers, but found severe conditions — and ongoing avalanche danger.

These conditions were so perilous that snowmobiles and other equipment used for the rescue became entrapped in heavy snow on Tuesday.

Search operations were suspended Tuesday afternoon out of safety concerns. They continued on Wednesday, and Ophir Pass was closed to facilitate efforts as ground teams worked sunup to sundown.

Teams from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, emergency management, San Juan County Search and Rescue, La Plata County Search and Rescue, Silverton Mountain Medical and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center scoured the debris fields, ultimately locating the three skiers buried more than 20 feet deep. All three skiers were equipped with locator beacons, which helped searchers to find their bodies.

The rugged terrain and conditions meant that a helicopter team was required to actually remove the bodies.

Back in December avalanches claimed 3 lives in the region in just one weekend. 

If you’re going out don’t forget to Check the forecast at and have proper equipment, including a locator beacon, probe pole and shovel. Always share planned routes and intended timeframes with at least one other person.

Stay safe Montrose.

Now, some local history. This week's local history is brought to you by England Fence. England Fence is family owned and operated, and they're ready to help you build your dream fence, archway, gate, or deck. Right now they're offering their best prices of the year, 20% off of all installed jobs through the month of January. Give them a call at 970-249-4430, or head over to their website

J.C. Frees started the first store in Montrose. When the city moved north to be closer to the railroad tracks, Frees moved his store too. It was built in 1905 it later housed the Montrose Grocery and Bakery.

Ralph Daniel Carver Jr. Ralph Jr. was born in Denver. He was the oldest of three children. Ralph grew up on a 5-acre mini-farm with his family. His mom raised turkeys which were quite popular at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ralph and his siblings also raised white rabbits, cows, and chickens. After graduating from school he married Lucinda Carhart. Together they had four children.

In 1960 Ralph opened his first C&C Auto Parts, and in 1963 he moved the family to Montrose and opened a second C&C Auto Parts. He owned and operated both stores, traveling to between them weekly. The drive was time consuming and this was when Ralph developed his interest in flying. He became a pilot in 1970. He loved flying and often would take one of his children with him on the weekly trips.

He opened C&C Auto Parts number 3 in Delta in 1977. All three boys grew up working in the stores and learned the value of a hard day’s work. 

Ralph was an advocate of higher education and was instrumental in bringing Colorado Western College to Montrose. He served as president of the board in 1972. He was also involved in the start of the Delta-Montrose Vo-Tech Center. He felt that getting a higher education or learning a trade should be available to every young adult. He always said that an education can never be taken away.

Ralph’s marriage to Lucinda ended, and in 1985, he married Irene Thompson. They celebrated 27 years together before she passed away. They enjoyed traveling whenever possible. 

Ralph gradually sold off his three auto parts stores and retired in 1995 to ”return to his roots” and farm his acreage on Spring Creek Road. He especially enjoyed having many grandchildren and great-grandchildren visit the farm. 

He was proud of being a farmer. He was a true Christian, a believer. He was considerate, careful, and thoughtful. Ralph was not a man of many words, but he was a man of his word and will be dearly missed.

Thank you for taking a moment today to remember and celebrate Ralph’s life.

That’s all for today, thank you for listening! For more information on any of these stories visit us at

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