SF County to pay for skier search | SierraSun.com

SF County to pay for skier search

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun

San Francisco taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the extensive search and rescue operation that eventually located two San Francisco skiers Monday morning.

The duo, Patrick Frost and Christopher Gerwig, spent two nights in the backcountry west of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort after skiing off of the backside of the ski resort in a snowstorm on Saturday.

State legislation mandates that the county where the lost individuals live must pay for the search, which in this particular case involved up to 40 people and a helicopter.

“The county where they live is responsible,” said Placer County Lt. Rich Tornberg.

Tornberg said it will take weeks to tally up all of the costs ” which include lodging, food and transportation for the crew members. Once everything is compiled, Placer County will send a bill to their counterparts in San Francisco.

“It can be a lot, it can be a little, I have no idea,” Tornberg said. “We had stuff going on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.”

Placer County Search and Rescue team took the lead on the search, but were assisted by crews from Mono County, Nevada County and El Dorado County. Costs incurred by other counties will be picked up by Placer County, Tornberg said. That cost will then also be passed on to San Francisco County.

But other volunteer groups, such as the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team, are out of luck, said Tornberg.

“A lot of those, it’s all volunteer hours,” Tornberg said. “And there’s no reimbursement for that.”