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Snowboarders safe after night on mountain

Search and Rescue's first action this year

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By Clare Ogilvie

In two separate incidents four snowboarders spent a night lost on Whistler Mountain.

Two new Whistler residents spent a chilly Monday night on the mountain after they got lost while skiing out.

Both were part of a group of six skiers and boarders making their way down Whistler Mountain when they got separated somewhere off Million Dollar Ridge near the Kadenwood subdivision.

However, the two men got lost separately and neither of them knew the other was lost. Somehow in the night they found each other.

No names have been released, but both are originally from Quebec.

Search and Rescue manager Ted Pryce-Jones said one of the lost 21-year-olds called police on his cell phone to get help. But the phone went dead before he could be located.

Whistler-Blackcomb patrollers looked for the duo until darkness set in then the search concentrated on getting things organized for the search Tuesday.

“In the morning we saw the tracks so we had a couple people go in on skis and then had the helicopter up above,” he said.

“We saw them near a clearing at the edge of a logging slash. They were about 4,000 foot up.

“The two patrollers who went in on the ground said they were too hypothermic to walk out.”

The lost boarders were by a wooded creek and unable to hear snowmobiles searching for them or have their calls for help heard.

Both were long-lined out by helicopter to Spring Creek Elementary School playing fields. They were treated briefly at Whistler health care centre and released.

It was the first search and rescue operation this year.

“It usually happens when the snow gets to the valley and people try to ski out rather than take the lift down,” said Pryce-Jones, adding that it’s a good idea to take a cell phone up the mountains.

“It’s a life-saver having a cell phone with you - it is a total life saver but keep it fully charged.”

Meanwhile, two other snowboarders also got lost on the north side of Whistler Mountain on Tuesday.

The two men, 18 and 20, were dressed appropriately and after spending the night in the Cakehole area connected with ski patrollers on their fully-charged cell phone. They walked out to Highway 99 near Creekside just after 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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