TNSAR Search 14/02/2004

2 lost cross country skiers around Serena Creek

TNSAR was called out around 12:15am on Valentine's Day for Joel and Johanna Rosenthal, 2 cross country skiers who had left the Ice Lakes area around 3:00pm the 13th and had not returned by nightfall. Friends finally called the Placer County Sheriff's Office, and the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team responded, beginning a search at about 2:00 AM.

While it was evident which house the Rosenthal's had left from, there was no obvious track in the surrounding snow to indicate where they may have begun skiing. TNSAR broke up into three teams; the first team headed east of Ice Lakes, climbing the ridge and dropping into Royal Gorge Ski area. The second team descended down the Serena Creek fire road, ending up at Onion Creek. The third team canvassed the Ice Lakes subdivision by truck, looking for any entry point the skiers may have made. This team also traversed the lake itself on skis.

At about 4:30am the teams met back at the staging are, not having found any obvious tracks. The two remaining area's of concern to cut were South of Rowton Peak (east of the Serena Creek fire road) and the area west of Serena Creek, heading up back into Royal Gorge Ski area. TNSAR regrouped and sent 2 teams back out to check these areas.

At daylight tracks were found by the Rowton Peak team. The tracks were South of Rowton Peak, in the direction of Onion Creek Campground but not on the Serena Creek fireroad. Soon the team came upon the Rosenthal's, just as two helicopters and fresh ground crews were responding.

The Rosenthals were in very good health, considering temperatures in the low teens. They had dug a snow cave for the night, and were eventually transported out by the TNSAR snowcat.

The search ended with breakfast at the Ice Lakes Lodge.

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Truck Skiers Snow Cats Snowmobiles
Sgt. John Giovannini Dirk Schoonmaker
Sarah Lagano
Bob Wright
Russ Viehmann
Ron Driller
Mark Johnson
Steve Twomey
Scoop Remenih Alan Whisler
Scott Baumgardner
Steve Hoyt