Four skiers who went missing out of bounds at Big White Ski Resort on Thursday managed to make it out safely, something the resort hailed as ‘lucky’.
It took the four skiers more than four hours to find their way back to the resort.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., Big White Ski Resort was notified of two groups of skiers missing out of bounds at the resort. According to resort senior vice president, Michael Ballingall, the two groups became one after becoming lost.
All four were found safe and uninjured, but not without the help of local rescue teams. However, with no travel plan to reference, rescue crews were forced to start from scratch.
Contact was eventually made with the skiers who informed crews they were on the west side of the West Ridge – on the backside of the mountain.
Due to spotty rescue crews struggled to give the group directions. About 45 minutes after establishing contact the skiers confirmed they were heading in the right direction.
“The actual two groups combined into one, and then they walked out. It could have been much worse. The story ended well, but the resources that were on standby – search and rescue, RCMP, pro-patrol, it really didn’t have to occur. Because you shouldn’t be out of bounds,” said Ballingall.
By about 6 p.m., the group had found their way back in bounds.
“They were very lucky,” Ballingall said.
Ballingall discouraged anyone without expertise and knowledge from heading out of bounds.
“The only reason you’re going out of bounds is to get fresh tracks, and if you would have waited 12 hours, there’s plenty of fresh tracks in bounds,” Ballingall said.
The resort received 27 centimetres of snow by Friday morning (Feb. 5).
Ballingall encouraged everyone to continuously check Avalanche Canada for avalanche conditions, before heading out. Yesterday’s conditions, he said, were considered high danger rating. Conditions Friday (Feb.5) around the region are considerable.
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