Rescue of skier ‘challenging;’ rescues up after big storm

ALPINE MEADOWS, Calif. – The Placer County Sheriff’s Office describes a recent rescue by Tahoe Nordic as challenging. Windy conditions and nightfall met the team as they searched for an out-of-bounds skier.

Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue recently rescued an out-of-bounds skier near Alpine Meadows.

The rescue started after Tahoe Nordic received a call about a missing person around 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, covering an area inaccessible by snowcat or snowmobile in Ward Canyon. The team was able to safely return the individual to the resort around 9:30 p.m.

Rescuer Casey Jobe says the skier was for the most part in good spirits, although tired, when they found them in a drainage. After administering food and water, the team and skier snowshoed back to the ski resort.

Jobe says, “They did a great job and had a fantastic attitude the whole time!”

In their social media posts, Placer reminds skiers and snowboarders to stay inbounds, “This is important for your safety and the safety of our rescue personnel.”

Jobe adds, “Always pay attention to and obey out of bounds and closed signs at the resort,” saying if you do ever find yourself lost, don’t keep going downhill, and call for help as soon as you know you are lost.

The incident has some commenting on Placer’s Facebook post, saying the skier should be billed and cited.

The Sheriff’s office states air units were not available for this rescue, most likely weather related, but cannot confirm. Tahoe Nordic reports winds were gusting up to 60 miles-per-hour.

Sarah Krammen with Tahoe Nordic says after the recent big storm earlier this month, rescues have been up. They received three calls on March 5. Two of those were also out of bound skiers and one was a stuck snowmobiler.

Tahoe Nordic is a search and rescue organization established in 1976. The nonprofit organization is made up of volunteers. The team consists of EMTs, emergency room doctors and nurses, firefighters, ski patrollers, paramedics, and experienced backcountry skiers and snowmobilers. The organization also raises awareness and provides education on backcountry safety.

The search and rescue team says every search and rescue starts with a 911 call. They work closely with local agencies. They provide these these tips to reduce your chances of having to make that call:

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Travel with a trusted partner. If you get separated from your group, stay put.
  • Read the weather and avalanche forecast before you go.
  • Carry emergency supplies, like a whistle, emergency blanket, spare warm clothes, headlamp, extra water and food, cell phone, map and compass, and emergency locator device. 
  • Carry avalanche safety gear—beacon, shovel, probe—and know how to use it.
  • Carry a stocked first aid kit and take a wilderness first aid course to learn how to treat common injuries. 
  • Layer appropriately for the weather conditions and bring spare layers.

A full Winter Awareness Guide is available on their website.

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