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Missing snowboarders turn up at Whitewater

Nelson Search and Rescue search manager Murray Springman (middle) says the missing snowboarders were lucky their cold night on the mountain turned out as well as it did. - Bob Hall photo
Nelson Search and Rescue search manager Murray Springman (middle) says the missing snowboarders were lucky their cold night on the mountain turned out as well as it did.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

A Nelson father and son that spent the night in the backcountry near Whitewater Ski Resort managed to find their way out of trouble earlier this morning.

On Sunday night just after 7 p.m., Nelson Search and Rescue received a call that a pair of snowboarders failed to return to their vehicle which was parked in the ski hill’s lot. It was reported that the father (37) and son (15) were intending to head into the backside of Ymir peak.

With avalanche hazard high and darkness set it, no search was conducted on Sunday night. A team of 13 Nelson Search and Rescue members was at the hill at first light Monday.

With two teams in the backcountry conducting a search (helicopters could not be employed due to the fog) the pair showed up at the Whitewater lodge at around 9:30 a.m.

“We were ecstatic to see them,” said Nelson Search and Rescue search manager Murray Springman.

The pair were checked by a search and rescue doctor, then released.

Springman said they were cold and wet, but otherwise in good health. After getting turned around and lost, the pair hunkered down into a snow pit, wrapped spruce boughs around themselves and huddled together through the night. Temperatures in the alpine were likely between minus-five and minus-eight.

“In my professional opinion they were not properly prepared for this,” Springman said of the local snowboarders.

According to Nelson RCMP the pair were not equipped to spend the night in the backcountry and were not packing the proper avalanche gear.

With volatile conditions in the backcountry, the Canadian Avalanche Association had been warning enthusiasts to stay inbounds all weekend.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” said Springman. “The avalanche hazard up in the alpine is high, they were very fortunate.”

 

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