TNSAR Search 02/19/2009

Bill and Grant's Excellent Adventure

The fun for Bill and Grant began Thursday afternoon on a beautiful blue bird day when the duo departed Sugar Bowl Academy with aspirations of freshies and breath taking views of Donner Lake. “Bill” a powder skier with skins and “Grant” a snowshoer headed out from the parking lot at Sugar Bowl Academy towards Donner Pass. Soon after they departed Bill was pulling away from Grant but graciously left notes in the snow with an arrow (“Grant, I went this way”). Grant was able to successfully follow these notes until he arrived at a ski track intersection with no note. Grant guessed “right” and that was the last he saw of Bill that day. Upon returning to there rendezvous point Grant found no sign of Bill and began to worry. Shortly after he called for help.

The Tahoe Nordic Team pagers went off on Thursday February 19th at approximately 16:45 hours. Fourteen enthusiastic TNSAR team members rallied to the call and made there way to Incident Command which was now located at the parking lot for Sugar Bowl Academy.

Meanwhile, CHP and PCSO Helicopters had now arrived on scene and were jointly searching for signs of Bill along the Donner Pass, Donner Peak, Mt. Judah and along the snow sheds. Daylight ran out for the Helo’s and they were forced to return to base. The team was really pulling for them but it wasn’t their night.

About this time, the TNSAR Snow Cat 1 was now making fast progress headed up Coldstream Valley and had passed Horseshoe Bend…

Back at the IC, the TNSAR troops had arrived, met with the Deputy’s, interviewed the reporting party and were preparing to launch into the field in three teams. TNSAR members had arranged with Sugar Bowl ski resort to shuttle Nordic 2 up Mt. Judah, Nordic 3 was preparing to depart the parking lot following the known tracks provided by Grant and Nordic 4 was about to work the lower elevation for signs of Bill when…

At approximately 19:00 hours, Bill’s unknown friend yelled from the parking lot “WE FOUND HIM, he’s at home on the couch!”

The TNSAR team arrived safely back at the team garage at approximately 19:45 hours.

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Truck Skiers Snow Cats Snowmobiles
Robert Pirtle Russ Viehmann
Marty Schoonmaker
Chris McConnell
Megan Ganong
Jesse Shirley
Sarah Lagano
Bernie Mellor
Steve Twomey
Jimmy Smith
Russ Viehmann
Bob Wright
Paul Cushing
Dirk Schoonmaker
Brain York
Scoop Remenih
Dave Gleske