On Tuesday, March 17 at 9:30 a.m. the Whistler RCMP received a report of a backcountry skier missing in the Black Tusk area. The 24-year-old male was snowboard touring with a friend on Saturday, March 14 when the friend decided to turn back for health reasons. The other skier kept going, planning to stay overnight in the shelter at the Taylor Meadows campground.
He did not return, and on March 17 the friend called Whistler RCMP, who passed it immediately over to Whistler Search and Rescue. Using an RCMP helicopter, searchers went to the cabin where they found an entry by the man in the journal. That narrowed the search, and soon after the helicopter found the man in the Helm Creek drainage.
They dropped a radio to the man who told them he did not need to be rescued, but planned to ski out that day.
The search was called off.
Search and Rescue manager Brad Sills said it was good to have a happy ending, but said people have to be better prepared when entering the backcountry, including leaving a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member before leaving.
"If he told people he was going to be out on Sunday then he should have been out on Sunday," said Sills.
It was the second call for Search and Rescue last week. On Sunday, March 15 members of the Whistler SAR team assisted the Squamish SAR team in aiding a snowmobiler who broke a leg on Brohm Ridge.
A member of Whistler SAR was dropped off by helicopter and skied down to the injured snowmobiler, along with members of the Squamish team. The weather quickly turned and made a helicopter rescue impossible, so they made the call of moving the injured male - asking him to crawl part of the way - to a sheltered area. They made a snowcave and the man and four rescuers spent the night until a helicopter could get to the area in the morning.
"It was a tense because where he was, in a gully where it was going to slide," said Sills. "It was the right decision, he would have definitely perished in a slide that night as the whole area was sliding including the gully."