Missing snowboarder found safe and sound after night in back country

The man from Alberta was located at nearly 2 p.m. in an out of bounds area near Esling Creek.

A missing snowboarder was found Sunday morning unharmed after getting turned around on Grey Mountain at Red Mountain Resort Saturday.

The man from Alberta was located at nearly 2 p.m. in an out of bounds area near Esling Creek.

Search and Rescue (SAR) is taking this opportunity to remind the public to stay in bounds at all times and to be prepared with proper equipment and a trip and safety plan.

“This has been a growing trend as of late with skiers moving into out of bound areas,” said Mike Hudson, president of South Columbia SAR.

He adds that the number of incidents could be attributed to the current snow conditions sending skiers and snowboarders in search of “good” snow.

“These areas are marked off for good reason, for their dangerous locations and avalanche risks,” he said.

“Not only the danger to you as the public but equally as dangerous for our certified rescuers. We too have to endure the dangers of these areas when others do not heed the warnings.”

Rossland SAR was called out Saturday around 5 p.m. and quickly got to work, setting up command in the Red Mountain parking lot and searching the mountain on skis and snowmobiles.

“Unfortunately, the weather moved in with heavy fog and snow, and the search was suspended for the night,” explained Hudson.

South Columbia joined the search effort Sunday morning, along with Castlegar and Grand Forks. There was a total of 37 SAR members on the team, some in the field and others handling the management of the search.

“We had searchers all over the mountain and snowmobiles travelling all through the Big Sheep Creek area in case he made it down that far,” Hudson explained.

A helicopter from Dam Helicopters was brought in to assist with the search, but foggy conditions made it difficult for the chopper to land at the base, so a helipad was built at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, weather again became an issue, and the pilot could not land on top either and was forced to discontinue search efforts for safety and visibility reasons.

The SAR team pressed through and finally came across some tracks, which led the team to the snowboarder at nearly 2 p.m. in an out of bounds area near Esling Creek.

“The conditions in this particular area were very dangerous and due to the heavy fog and heavy snow conditions on Saturday late afternoon he got turned around,” said Hudson. “He was located and found in good condition, no injuries or other medical issues.”

The hungry man was thankful to see SAR and was brought safely back to the base Sunday night.