Two missing skiers were located this morning after spending a chilly night on the Kootenay Pass.
The pair — and man and a woman from Nelson, both 29 — were located hiking in an area near the Ministry of Highways works yard.
They became disoriented late yesterday in foggy conditions as they were trying to return to their car.
Both were cold and wet but otherwise in good health. They were taken to the highways office by snowmobile, checked over by a doctor, and have since left.
Murray Springman of Nelson Search and Rescue says they received a call last night that the pair was overdue. They were expected to return at 4:30 p.m. Monday after backcountry skiing towards Ripple Ridge cabin at the top of the pass.
For safety reasons, searchers decided not to send out a crew that night, although one member, along with another from South Columbia Search and Rescue spent the night in the parking lot, in case the missing pair returned.
Then this morning, search and rescue teams from Nelson, Rossland, South Columbia, Kimberley, and Columbia Valley all joined in the search, hampered by continuing fog.
“They were a bit hypothermic,” Springman says. “But they had a shower, dried their clothes, and everybody’s happy.”
The couple spent the night in a snow cave they built for themselves. Springman says they didn’t have a map or compass, and were only prepared for a day trip. They did, however, have probes, beacons, and shovels.
According to avalanche technicians on the pass, the avalanche risk in the area was between moderate and considerable.