Sunday April 20, 2014

Updated: Three lost skiers found safe at Sun Peaks

Two sisters and one American woman who got lost after skiing out of bounds at Sun Peaks late Friday afternoon in two separate incidents have been found.

"All skiers found and safe," tweeted Sun Peaks Tourism president Christopher Nicolson at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. "Special recognition and thanks to the volunteer Search and Rescue teams and their families."

All were reportedly in good condition. Temperatures throughout the night were a reasonably warm -2C.

The first pair of skiers reported missing, 17- and 21-year-old sisters from Kamloops, texted their mother about 2 p.m. Friday to report they were lost and describe where they were.

Tourism Sun Peaks president Christopher Nicolson said the resort commissioned a "hasty search" for the sisters earlier in the day using snowmobiles.

The skiers went "under, through or over a rope boundary," Nicolson said. "The entire 10,000 acres is roped off."

Searchers looked in the late afternoon darkness and evening in the Gils area, located via either the Burfield or Crystal chairlifts on the northeast side of the resort.

But as darkness fell and cell phone contact was lost, Kamloops Search and Rescue joined the effort to find them.

About four hours later, as Search and Rescue staff were staging on the mountain, another skier, a Seattle woman in her 40s, was reported missing in the same vicinity.

"We're looking for more resources. It's getting a little crazy," said Alan Hobler on Friday night.

Hobler headed the effort with Kamloops Search and Rescue.

The Seattle woman was originally with a friend skiing out of bounds but became separated.

"One came out and initiated the search," said Nicolson.

Hobler said the Seattle woman also contacted searchers by cell phone late Friday night to say she could hear their snowmobiles.

Because the cell phone is from the United States, however, RCMP were unable to "ping" the cell to a precise location.

About 10 members were on the mountain using snowmobiles to search but they were hampered by high winds that obliterated tracks. They found the sisters just after midnight, however the third skier remained elusive.

"She is down in the trees and we have contact with her," said Hobler in a Friday night update.

Hobler said an RCMP helicopter would be dispatched at first light if the woman was not located through the night and into Saturday morning.

At 10 a.m. Nicolson sent out a message via Twitter stating that all lost skiers had been found safe.

Friday marks the second time in a week that skiers have gone out of bounds. Kamloops Search and Rescue located two teenage boys who went out of bounds and got lost in a different area of the mountain on Dec. 23.

The resort charges for its costs if it is asked to rescue skiers.

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