A Search and Rescue helicopter delivered two lost skiers to the Red Mountain parking lot on Friday morning.

Rossland search & rescue teams kept busy with out-of-bounds adventurers

"Both parties went by the ropes and ski area boundary signage and were totally out of bounds.” - Don Thompson, Red Mountain

A new chairlift on Grey Mountain brought new opportunity for misadventure at Red Mountain Resort last week after two American boy scouts skied out-of-bounds and spent a cold night in the back country Thursday night.

This was the second incident on Grey since the lift first opened to the public Dec. 20.

The first, was a group of 10 skiers from Washington who were lost on the back side of the mountain after slipping under the ropes Dec. 29.

“Both parties went by the ropes and ski area boundary signage and were totally out of bounds,” Don Thompson, vice president of operations and development at the resort, told the Trail Times Friday. “Today (Friday) our first priority was to find these young men and the file will be turned over to the RCMP.”

Other than cold feet, no injuries were reported on either occasion and all the skiers were airlifted to safety after Rossland Search and Rescue (SAR) deployed its team of skiers and snowmobiles to track and ultimately locate the missing.

“We had good results,” said Graham Jones, SAR director. “It can’t get any better than bringing everyone home safe and sound,” he continued. “And our personnel is a little tired but otherwise in great shape.”

In the aftermath of the successful rescues, comes the paperwork that Rossland SAR must submit to the province to cover expenses the volunteer organization incurred while searching for the skiers.

“I put in expense accounts for what occurred here such as fuel and damaged or lost equipment,” said Jones. “That’s as far as we go,” he explained. “Fortunately for all of us in this country, people who are rescued do not have to pay for the service unless it is something specific.”

Most SAR teams in the province are opposed to charging for searches, citing the potential cost might delay calls for assistance, a position Jones agrees with.

“It’s been in discussion for quite awhile whether people should be held financially responsible,”  he said. “Especially if they intentionally go out of bounds and put our members at risk as well,” continued Jones.

“Our perspective is that we take all precautions to bring our (SAR) people home in a safe manner as much as we want to bring those we are rescuing home.”

During both recoveries, a helicopter was summoned from Castlegar at $1,000 per hour.

The chopper costs are covered by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), located in Victoria, under the Emergency Management BC (EMBC) program.

The province reimburses recognized ground SAR groups directly and there are no restrictions who receives the life safety resources and the MOJ does not seek reimbursement.

However, missing or injured persons can and have been charged by ski hill operators to try to recover costs for ski hill resources that have been used in the search and rescue, according to a MOJ spokesperson.

The 16-year-old boy scouts from Pullman, Wash., were reported overdue Jan. 2 at 5:15 p.m. after they failed to meet with the rest of the 35-member troop, said Jones.

SAR was on the mountain at 7 p.m. but due to weather and terrain, called off the search at 10:30 p.m. and reconvened Friday morning.

“Part of their boy scout training would have told them to stay put, get comfortable and wait for daylight or in this case, assistance,” explained Jones. “After a little rest we were back at 7 a.m. and located them a few hours later.”

The teenagers were in good spirits and airlifted to the base of Red by 11 a.m. Friday, checked by paramedics, then reunited with their chaperones and troop.

Earlier in the week, two families with children ranging from ages six to 18 were extricated off the back side of Grey Mountain after skiing out of bounds and becoming disoriented around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Rossland SAR was alerted to the overdue skiers at 5:30 p.m. that evening after an initial investigation by the Trail RCMP detachment determined the skiers were missing.

By midnight, the eight-member rescue team located the skiers after following a number of tracks veering off the course.

The following morning, the chopper was deployed to airlift the families and SAR team, four at a time,  to the base of Red.

Just Posted

Contempt charge against Balfour logging protesters dropped on technicality

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Cooper Creek Cedar failed to file a contempt application

Jail time for driver involved in Castlegar road rampage

Sean Patrick Byrne caused havoc on Castlegar roads in November

Update: 75th annual Rossland-Trail Open crowns three-time champion

Kevin Hogg wins the Birchbank Golf Course’s 75th Rossland-Trail Open … again

RCMP renew request for help finding missing Nakusp man

Christopher Sanford was reported missing Aug. 5

Updated: Early-morning fire near Trail destroys travel trailer and van

An arson-trained RCMP investigator will examine the scene

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Most Read