Unbelievable. That one word fittingly describes the ordeal of one resident from Quebec who survived six nights of sub-zero temperatures in the Kicking Horse backcountry before being rescued.
According to the Revelstoke Mountaineer, the skier became lost on January 29th after looking to score some untouched powder just beyond the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort boundary. After ducking the rope, the 35 year-old man skied down into Canyon Creek without a return strategy. Once he realized the mistake, he began bootpacking back up the mountain but was overtaken by nightfall.
The next day, the lost skier began experiencing the first signs of hypothermia and frostbite, causing him to head down the creek instead of back up the mountain. He would ultimately spend what would be the second of 6 nights alone in the Dogtooth Mountains of British Columbia. He would follow the same drainage for the next four nights.
“After 8cm of new snow they were lucky to be able to spot and follow tracks almost 8km south of the resort. He had spent 6 nights in the backcountry alone and suffered from severe frostbite. This man was lucky to be found.” – Golden and District Search and Rescue Facebook Page
On the evening of February 3rd, resort officials noticed that the man’s car had been in the parking lot for a long time and subsequently alerted search and rescue officials as to the situation. Following a few attempts to reach the vehicle’s owner without success, GADSAR launched a search and rescue effort on the morning of February 4th– six days since the skier ducked the rope.
The rescuers found his tracks via helicopter approximately 5 miles from the resort. They later discovered his position and airlifted the man to Golden, BC where he was treated for hypothermia and frostbite.
GADSAR Backcountry Checklist
1. Make a Plan: Where are you going, when will you return, how will you call for help if you need it?
2. Travel with Friends: You can look out for each other and help each other make decisions.
3. Tell Someone Else about your plan, someone who will call for help if you haven’t returned on time.
4. Educate yourself! Here’s a free online avalanche tutorial:
You can get local information, here’s some for Golden, BC:
Adventure Smart information here:
Find the entire Revelstoke Mountaineer article here: Skier frostbitten after six nights in backcountry unprepared; nobody knew he was missing