NSR rescues another out-of-bounds snowboarder on Cypress Mountain
For the second time in a week, North Shore Rescue was called out to rescue an out-of-bounds snowboarder in “heinous terrain” on Cypress Mountain.
Just two days before Christmas the rescue crew was alerted to the snowboarder after his friend, who apparently also ventured out of bounds, reported him missing.
“Envision the worst terrain you’ve ever been in, and times it by a hundred. It’s exhausting,” NSR spokesman Tim Jones told The Outlook.
Search crews initially made contact with the 30-year-old snowboarder, whose name has not been released, on his cellphone but his battery died while they were still searching.
Around 8:15 p.m., five hours after the snowboarder was reported missing, NSR heard him call out.
Due to the extremely difficult terrain, it took another two hours to reach him in Montizambert Creek, and another couple hours to hike together down the mountain. He was cold but uninjured.
“We’ve changed our tactics a bit now,” said Jones, adding the team began searching from the bottom up, rather than their usual routine from the top of the ski area down, after learning from their last rescue.
NSR rescued Sebastien Boucher, a 33-year-old snowboarder who was lost for three days, in the same area the week before after using military, police and civilian search helicopters. Like the latest missing out-of-bounds snowboarder, Boucher wasn’t hurt.
“In that terrain it takes hours to move a couple hundred metres,” said Jones, explaining why it took around two hours to reach the snowboarder when the team was close enough to hear him calling.
But the day wasn’t finished for North Shore Rescue once they found the snowboarder.
A few hours later a small avalanche on the Grouse Grind sent rescue teams out again because hikers were using the trail even though signs warned it was closed. A ground search team and helicopter didn’t find anyone hurt.
Despite warnings to stay within designated areas, these two snowboarders apparently went off-limits deliberately, sparking a debate over who should pay the cost for their rescue.
Cypress Mountain is billing Boucher, the first rescued snowboarder, $10,000, but neither boarder will be getting a bill from North Shore Search and Rescue.
“We have a long-standing policy that we’re not in favour of fines or charges for the exact reason that people evade rescue,” said Jones. “If they did evade rescue, it could make things far more worse for them than us.”