Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc.

TNSAR Search 1/15/2016

Missing Ski Instructor at Sugarbowl

Submitted by Dirk Schoonmaker

On Thursday, January 14th, a ski instructor at Sugarbowl skied with his brother until about 2 pm when he announced he was cold and tired and was going in to get a neck gaiter from the lodge and then take one more run. His brother reported him missing on Friday at about 11 am. (His neck gaiter was still in his locker when searched later.)

On Friday (a sunny day with a new foot of snow on the ground) 12 skiers responded and searched areas in and out of bounds, mostly on the north and northeast boundaries of the ski area, off the Judah Chair, but also down into Lakeview, Emigrant and Cold Creek Canyons. Recent avalanche debris was probed in several spots. 2 snowmobilers assisted with transport in the ski area and also searched in Emigrant Canyon.

Pings from the victim's cell phone were clustered just north of the Judah boundary, below Donner Peak and those areas were searched thoroughly by patrol and TNSAR.

On Saturday (a rainy, miserable day, with another 3" of wet glop on the surface) 15 skiers showed up and continued searching the previously searched areas, especially those around the PING sights and along the Judah boundary, but also along in bound ski runs.

The search continued for 4 more days with almost all members of TNSAR involved, as well as many searchers from other teams from Northern California. No trace was found of the skier.

On Monday, February 29th, TNSAR member Matt Jacobs organized a search with 2 dog handlers from the local area. 3 weeks of warm weather had diminished the snowpack quite a bit and they were hopeful of being able to find something. The dogs alerted in the area of an avalanche from the first days of searching and the victim was found under about 6' of snow.

The goal of TNSAR is to conduct fast and safe rescues, and to help educate the public on winter safety. If you would like to help TNSAR in this cause, please use the following PayPal donate link. Thanks!

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