TNSAR Search 17/01/2006

Sugarbowl Snowboarder

TNSAR was dispatched at 1820 for an overdue snowboarder at Sugarbowl Ski Area. He was last seen by his friends at the bottom of East Face, below the point where he could have traversed out at about 1400. The team mobilized just as a major snowstorm started to pummel the central Sierra, arriving at Sugarbowl at about 1930.
After a briefing by Deputy Hunt and Ski Patrol, 6 skiers were transported to the East Face to drop off into Emigrant and Coldstream Canyons. The snowcat and 2 snowmobilers started in from the bottom of Coldstream Canyon. High winds and blowing snow, coming down at an inch and hour, made for difficult visibility and appeared to be covering most tracks. Open, flowing creeks were a problem for skiers and motorheads.
After descending down into the trees, past the steep parts of the upper canyon, a set of bootprints with about 5 inches of snow in them were found. They were followed with some difficulty due to the open creeks and new snow, but at about 2330 they ended at the snowboarder's snow cave, where he was found cold and wet but otherwise in excellent condition. He was at the upper end of Emigrant Canyon, near the headwaters of Emigrant Creek, where he had bivouaced at about 1600 after postholing for 1.5 hours, thinking he would find a ski lift.
After dressing him in a complete set of dry upper clothing and giving him food and water he was outfitted with snowshoes, a headlamp and ski poles and the trek to meet up with the snowcat was commenced. The 1 mile hike, over the ridge between Emigrant Canyon and Coldstream Canyon and across multiple open creeks, ended with the welcome sight of a flair ascending from the snowcat straight ahead of the team. Overcoming major obstacles and adversity the snowcat had been able to make it very close to the team's position.
Following a long, rough ride out in the snowcat, the victim was reunited with his friends at the bottom of Coldstream Canyon and team members went home to bed.

Some pictures from the search.

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Truck Skiers Snow Cats Snowmobiles
Dave Hunt John Pang
Kelli Twomey
Russ Viehmann
Bill Healy Russ Viehmann
Bernie Mellor
Dirk Schoonmaker
Doug Read
Bob Wright
Mike Kennett
Steve Twomey
Mark Johnson
Sarah Lagano
Scoop Remenih
Jimmy Smith
Scott Baumgartner
TJ Johnson