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Snowboarder found safe after four days in backcountry


After searching two mountains, following tracks, sending dogs to investigate avalanche debris and scouring the local backcountry with two helicopters, a 26-year-old Whistler snowboarder was located safe and sound Tuesday.

The man told friends that he was hiking out to Cowboy Ridge, past Oboe on the Musical Bumps area, and would build an igloo to camp overnight. He was expected back on Saturday, and on Sunday his friends reported him missing.

Whistler Search and Rescue and the RCMP responded that evening, enlisting Blackcomb Helicopters and an RCMP helicopter to help with the search on Monday morning. The effort concentrated mostly on Cowboy Ridge, including a recent slide area, but moved to Blackcomb briefly when they heard from a friend that he considered making the trip on Blackcomb.

He was located by helicopter in the Cheakamus Lake area at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and brought to Whistler Health Care Centre for examination. He was reportedly walking in the wrong direction when he was found.

He was equipped with an avalanche receiver and other gear, but only brought provisions for an overnight trip.

Search and Rescue advises backcountry users to file detailed trip plans with friends and family members, and to know how to use maps, compasses and other safety gear. Cell phones are also recommended, as is as travelling with one or more companions.

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