Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc.

TNSAR Search 3/26/2011

Snowboarder at Sugarbowl

Submitted by Dirk Schoonmaker

An inexperienced snowboarder (his friends said he didn't even have a toeside turn) rode out of bounds during a big storm cycle near Roller Pass at Sugarbowl. Ski Patrol saw his tracks but were wisely reluctant to follow his tracks due to avalance danger. When TNSAR first arrived at Judah Lodge (at about 5 pm) it appeared that we might not be able to deploy, but after discussion with Patrol Director, Jim Zaloga, it was decided that a safe, though round-about, route could be tried from Roller Pass to reach the victim.

After being transported to the pass by snowcat, 7 skiers started down the route. After a short time, voice contact was made with the snowboarder and it was clear that he was not too far away but the safe route went a long way to the north before descending into Coldstream Canyon. After a long slog in waist deep snow, the searchers found the snowboarder's track, apparently going both up and down. Some followed it down and some up, and after half an hour the upskiers contacted the victim. He had been trying to hike uphill, back to the ski area and was just getting into the steeper terrain that would have been a perfect avalanche starting zone.

He was cold, scared and exhausted and very happy to have headlamps surrounding him. He was given food and water, his frozen cotton clothes were cut off and he was given an entirely new warm and dry outfit.

It was decided that the short, steep climb up to the snowcat was far too dangerous and that it was necessary to follow the original route out. 2 hours later, after short roping and half carrying the snowboarder he was delivered to the snowcat for transport to the lodge.

Jeff Davis
Kathi Chilcote
John Chilcote
Troy Corliss
Bernie Mellor
Geoff Quine
Doug Read
Dirk Schoonmaker
Bob Wright
Russ Viehmann
Jimmy Smith
Steve Kehler
Jeb Mirczak
Dave Gleske
Jim Zaloga

The goal of TNSAR is to conduct fast and safe rescues, and to help educate the public on winter safety. If you would like to help TNSAR in this cause, please use the following PayPal donate link. Thanks!

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