Nelson Search and Rescue helped evacuate an injured backcountry skier at Kootenay Pass on Monday night.
A 26-year-old woman visiting the area from Idaho had broken her leg while skiing with a group of friends out of the Ripple Ridge cabin, south of Kootenay Pass summit along Highway 3A.
The group was quite a ways out from the cabin when the woman was injured. One member of their party went to the highway to call for help, while the rest fashioned a makeshift sled to get her back to the cabin, about three kilometres from the highway.
Just after 6 p.m. on February 3, Nelson Search and Rescue received a call about the incident from the Creston detachment, which doesn’t have its own winter team to work in avalanche terrain.
Eight Nelson volunteers drove the hour to the pass, bringing with them skis and an off-road UTV (utility task vehicle) for quick access to the cabin. Lou Coletti, the Nelson search manager on site, said his group made it to Ripple Ridge sometime between 9 and 10 p.m., about the same time as the skiers towing the injured woman.
“We did some first aid, and put a splint on her leg… and brought her out to the highway with the UTV,” Coletti explained, noting some members also helped retrieve her ski gear that had been left on the mountain.
The woman was doing well when they reached the highway at about 10:45 p.m. and, Coletti said, the party opted to take her back to the United States for medical care. They drove through the night to Sandpoint, ID, and reached the hospital around 2 a.m.
“She called me [Tuesday] morning to say she had made it to the hospital and was feeling good,” Coletti said. “She wanted to thank us for helping her.”
Last week Nelson SAR assisted an injured snowmobiler at Kootenay Pass.