A Vancouver man who was rescued after being stranded on Cypress Mountain for three days in December has raised $10,000 to give back to North Shore Rescue.
Sebastien Boucher, 33, was snowboarding out of bounds on Dec. 16 when he became lost in steep and treacherous terrain.
North Shore Rescue scoured the mountain for three days looking for Boucher and had all but given up hope of finding him alive when crews spotted fresh tracks in the snow.
Boucher was found hours later and rescued by helicopter. He was cold but not seriously injured.
“Three full days with literally no food, no sleep, cold, wet and lost. I suffered physically and mentally, lost 18 pounds and still have nerve damage to my fingers and toes,” Boucher wrote in his blog.
After being saved, the operators of Cypress Mountain planned to bill Boucher the $10,000 cost of his rescue to donate to NSR.
However, the company withdrew that bill and instead plans to work with Boucher in a new campaign to advocate against skiing and snowboarding out of bounds.
The new program aims to discourage the dangerous and sometimes deadly practice of disobeying safety boundaries, using Boucher’s story as an example of how things can go wrong quickly.
In the months since his ordeal, Boucher said giving back to NSR has been a top priority for him.
“Over the last two months I have had plenty of time to truly reflect on my experience. It’s vital to highlight and acknowledge one thing from those few days on Cypress Mountain – The North Shore Search and Rescue Team (NSR). They risked their lives to save me, and for that, I owe them my life. They are true heroes,” Boucher wrote in his blog.
Boucher organized a fundraiser in Ottawa and was able to raise $10,000 to donate to the rescue team.
NSR spokesperson Tim Jones said the funds will go towards enhancing two of the techniques crews used to rescue Boucher.
“Part of the funds will go to increasing helicopter flight time and the other half is going to help build a rope rescue catwalk in our new rescue base to be used for repel training,” Jones said.
Boucher will present the cheque to NSR on July 25.
“I want to do something special for them as they deserve much more than they ever actually receive. They work tirelessly and unselfishly saving the lives of people that they don’t know,” Boucher said.