San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters is calling for backcountry skiers to buy rescue insurance to help spread the costs of what he says are increasingly common search and rescue operations. The insurance is $12 and offer buyers coverage for five years. Masters is worried that growing backcountry travel will soon exhaust his annual $100,000 search and rescue budget. A single rescue or recovery operation can run as much as $50,000. "I think you should be responsible and held accountable if you are engaged in these types of recreational pursuits," Masters said. Six people have died in Colorado avalanches this season, including a man in San Miguel County three weeks ago.
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