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

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Last stand for Silver City summer

Fall officially arrives in Trail at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Will you be attending a candidates forum in the Trail area?

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Most Read