Lost skier found by Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, local law enforcement
Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue volunteers and local law enforcement were recently brought a lost skier out of the backcountry and back to safety.
Placer County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report from Alpine Meadows at around 8:50 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, regarding a missing skier, and soon had teams from Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue and Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol aiding in the rescue.
The missing skier’s vehicle was still in the parking lot, according to law enforcement officials, and he did not have his cell phone with him. With winds blowing up to 100 miles per hour the lost skier’s tracks were mostly covered, said law enforcement officials. By around 9:30 p.m. volunteers from Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue were called out to aid in the search.
“We met at Alpine Meadows for a lift to the top of the mountain, thinking we could find ski tracks,” said Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, which had roughly a dozen volunteers on scene, in a social media post. “When everyone stepped out of the snowcat, the pre-storm winds were whipping across the ridge! Visibility was low and it was difficult to spot anything.”
The search teams were divided into two groups, and began making their way down toward Grouse Canyon. Within 30 minutes rescuers had found tracks, which were heading back uphill. Teams also heard a response to their calls, but coming from a far off location.
“In Tahoe, if you drop over the crest behind Palisades or Alpine, you will be heading down into a zone called Hellhole,” said Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue staff in their social media post. “It is a very long ways away and then we have to hike all the way back up to the crest and into the Lake Tahoe Basin. Following your own tracks back up was the correct decision in this scenario.”
Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team members added that traveling downhill off the Sierra Crest naturally funnels lost individuals toward Sacramento, which has led to long searches in the past as volunteers attempted to track down individuals moving downhill.
“It is best in this region to travel back up your tracks to the top of the mountain,” said Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue staff in their social media post.
After making contact with the missing skier, rescue teams and the lost individual snowshoed for several hours to reach the ridge near Grouse Rock.
“We then had a lovely ski down, where all of us left the woods smiling and happy to be safe before the big storm,” concluded Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue in its social media post.
The lost person has been an “avid skier for the past 40 years,” according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
“Finding yourself in an emergency while engaging in outdoor activities can happen to the best of us,” said the sheriff’s office. “Please remember to keep your cell phone handy, notify family and friends of your travel plans, and travel in pairs.”
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