Snowboarders lost in Tamarack backcountry for several hours

Credit: Zach Stotland/ KTVB

Snowboarders lost in Tamarack backcountry for several hours

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on January 11, 2014 at 12:55 AM

VALLEY COUNTY -- A day of snowboarding took a scary turn for two young women Thursday at Tamarack Resort. They were missing in the backcountry for about three hours, before ski patrol found them.

Around 4:45 p.m., Tamarack Ski Patrol was notified of the two missing snowboarders. Earlier in the day, the two women, reported in their mid-20s, had been following a group of three men, around the same age. The men told the ski patrol that the girls had gone out of bounds of the resort, to the north.
   
"One of the girls actually used an app on her cell phone to give us the coordinates of where they were at," said Heather Thiry, one of the ski patrol members who found the lost snowboarders.

The women called Tamarack Ski Patrol with a cell phone to give them the coordinates, which the ski patrol plugged into a GPS.

"What's when we found out that they were off the backside of the mountain, off to the west," said Thiry. "And then we actually went on foot and found their tracks, and and then followed their tracks down to where we eventually came to meet the girls."

While waiting for help, one of the women called her uncle, a pilot, and he dropped supplies to them from a plane.

"They were a little cold and tired, but they were in really good spirits," said Thiry.

Tamarack has an "open gate policy," which means people are free to go into the backcountry. However, Robby Russell, who's been on ski patrol since the mid-90s, says if you're going in the backcountry you need to be prepared.

"Have a transceiver, shovel, probe, preferably go with somebody who knows their way around out there, that way they don't inadvertently go into slide paths or start avalanches," said Russell.

Russell also encourages folks to bring a cell phone. He said the cell phone call and GPS coordinates the women provided helped them search for the two women. Also, make sure someone else knows where you're going.

"Just know where you're going, tell somebody where you're going, and take the right gear," Russell said. "Just go out with a little bit of knowledge so you have a better chance of getting back in one piece."

The Tamarack Ski Patrol also recommends that folks who want to go out into the backcountry take an avalanche class and check the avalanche forecast before heading out.

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