Low visibility in the alpine caused three experienced backcountry skiers from Squamish to veer off their planned route to Cowboy Ridge, but they were prepared and spent the night in the backcountry at the northwest end of Cheakamus Lake.
The call came into the Whistler RCMP at 6:50 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21, after the men did not return on schedule.
The three males were reported to be in their late 40s and quite experienced. With stormy conditions and no light the RCMP and Whistler Search and Rescue held off searching until the following morning, and located the men after spotting some tracks that led off the path from Flute. The men were aiming for Oboe, but got caught in an area known as Moose Meadows.
It was cold, but the men had a lighter and were able to start a fire to stay warm overnight, and they were safely down by 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday.
The men told their partners in Squamish where they were going and their vehicle was located in the parkade at Creekside. As well, they used their Edge Cards to purchase backcountry passes, which also helped searchers concentrate their efforts.
That wasn't the only backcountry call this week. On Feb. 20 at 5:07 p.m. the RCMP got a call regarding a backcountry skier in the Spearhead who had lost a ski and was unable to continue. With a window of daylight of around 50 minutes, the police called in a helicopter to pick up a ski patroller and head to the area. The group was easy to find, but the helicopter couldn't land in the area. While options were considered, the male found his buried ski and the rescue was called off. The party had headlamps, and was able to successfully ski out on their own.
Jeep thieves may have found keys
On Feb. 19, between 7:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. a black 2011 Jeep Wrangler four-door with Illinois plates was reported missing from Day Lot 4.
The vehicle's owner was unable to find his keys when making the report, and believes he may have dropped the keys in the lot. The thief or thieves then walked through the lot until they found a vehicle that responded to the remote lock.
The RCMP are continuing to search, and are asking the public's assistance in tracking down the vehicle, which had a plate number "L253115." The RCMP can be reached at 604-932-3044, or you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Police investigating attempted sex assault
On Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. a woman attended the Whistler RCMP attachment to report an assault from earlier that morning.
According to the report, the female was at a nightclub with friends in the Village and was walking home alone down Whistler Way. She became aware of a male off the footpath, who made several attempts to speak to her. She kept walking, at which point the male grabbed her, bear-hugged her and started kissing her. She pushed the male away, and when he tried to grab her again she kicked free and ran away.
The suspect is described as five-foot-seven, with dark hair, tan skin and no facial hair. He had a European accent.
If you have any information or saw anything, contact the RCMP at 604-932-3044 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Ring taken through PayPal scam
For the second time in as many weeks the Whistler RCMP answered a complaint regarding an online fraud.
In this case, a Whistler female sold a diamond ring valued at $4,250 to someone in the U.S. When she received a fake confirmation of the sale purporting to be from PayPal she couriered the ring to an address in Arizona. The female became suspicious when the money didn't appear in her bank account, and contacted the RCMP on Feb. 16.
The previous week a similar case was reported involving a Squamish woman and an expensive Burberry scarf. She became suspicious right away, and managed to stop the package from being delivered by the post office.
If you are buying or selling items online, you can protect yourself by holding off on any transactions until you are sure you have received the money. You can also use an online escrow service that will hold the money back until an item is delivered. Getting a PayPal account is one way to prevent fraud, as you can see the status of transactions online rather than waiting for a confirmation email. Never give your credit card or banking information to another person, but go through a recognized transaction service.
March is Fraud Prevention Month at the RCMP. Tips on avoiding fraud are available at www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/month-mois-eng.htm.