January 12, 2019 7:38 pm

Two snowboarders rescued after going out of bounds at Big White

Snowmobiles were used to help rescue two snowboarders who got lost on the backside of Big White on Friday.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue
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Two snowboarders who ventured out of bounds at Big White needed rescuing on Friday night.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue said its services were needed when the two snowboarders got lost on the backside of the popular ski resort near Kelowna. The two managed to call Big White’s ski patrol, which then forwarded the coordinates to Central Okanagan Search and Rescue [COSAR].

According to COSAR, ski patrol told the pair to stay put. It’s believed the two were skiing in the back-country near Gem Lake.

In all, 13 people took part in rescuing the two lost snowboarders. This was COSAR’s second rescue of the winter season.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

COSAR said it responded to the approximate 4 p.m. call with 13 members. A seven-person team was sent in on snowmobiles, with the rescuers managing to get within half a kilometre of the two snowboarders. A smaller team on snowshoes then trekked through deep snow and thick forest to the pair.

The rescue team included three members of the Kelowna Snowmobile Club.

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COSAR said contact was made just before midnight, and that the two snowboarders had managed to make a small fire and stay warm.

The two were brought back to a staging area, where they were evaluated by paramedics before returning to their vehicle.

The two snowboarders were found just before midnight, approximately eight hours after Central Okanagan Search and Rescue received a call from Big White Ski Patrol that the two were lost and needed rescuing.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

“Even though the subjects found themselves in a tough situation, they did a lot of things right,” COSAR said in a press release.

“First, as soon as they determined that they were lost, they immediately got a call out to ski patrol. Second, instead of trying to self-rescue, they remained where they were. Finally, they were prepared enough to get a fire going and stay warm until rescuers could arrive.”

On its website, Big White has a dedicated page about mountain safety, including a section warning about venturing out of bounds. That page can be found here.

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