With few clues to guide them, rescuers suspended their search Friday (Feb. 19) for a 67-year-old skier suspected to have gone missing in Taos Ski Valley during mid-January.
Plow drivers reported a car had been parked in one of the resort’s lots for several weeks, according to David Wallace, Public Safety Director for the Village of Taos Ski Valley.
Wallace said the car was later identified as belonging to Douglas Orr, of Massachusetts.
Family members said Orr was driving across the country alone, stopping to ski along the way.
A niece described him as “a hippy in every since of the word” who is “an exemplary skier” and often spends winters traveling around the West.
“This was probably one of his favorite spots,” said Heidi Torrey White from her home in North Carolina.
Orr checked into an Arroyo Seco hostel Jan. 15 and paid to stay through Jan. 18, White said.
Several sets of skis were reportedly found inside Orr’s vehicle but one pair is suspected to be missing.
White said there is no record of her uncle buying a lift ticket, suggesting he may have gone cross-country skiing or headed into the backcountry.
While the parking lot where Orr’s vehicle was found is heavily trafficked by visitors to Taos Ski Valley resort, it is also a gateway to the wilderness of the Carson National Forest.
A search and rescue mission was initiated Friday morning, focusing on nearby areas where Orr could have been cross-country skiing.
But crews did not find any sign of Orr, according to New Mexico Search and Rescue Resource Officer Bob Rodgers.
Complicating search efforts, several snowstorms have blown through the area since Orr is thought to have gone missing. Though temperatures have been relatively mild around Northern New Mexico during recent weeks, a small snowstorm arrived in Taos Ski Valley Jan. 19 followed by another the next week. A larger storm rolled through the area in early February, dumping snow on the mountains.
With only limited information to direct their mission, crews suspended the search for Orr Friday pending further investigation, Rodgers said.
Anyone with information regarding Orr's whereabouts is encouraged to contact the New Mexico State Police by calling (575) 758-8878.
This story has been updated.