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

TNSAR Search 1/28/2021

Snowboarder in Deep Snow Below Roller Pass

Submitted by Dirk Schoonmaker

At 4pm on the final day of a 5 foot blizzard TNSAR was called out for a stranded snowboarder at the base of Roller Pass off the back of Sugarbowl. He had been able to call 911 and give them his coordinates. Due to extreme avalanche hazard there was no way to get to him safely from the ski area, per ski patrol, so the plan was to have Scott and Sarah drive the snowcat in as far as possible up Emigrant Canyon and then launch a ski team. The new cat got within a mile and a half of the MP at about 7:30 after plowing a 4 foot trench for 5 miles- Calvin and Tony on snowmobiles were not able to make any headway other than in the snowcat’s track.

Bob, Rom, Russ and Dirk booted up and started up the canyon for the last stretch to the snowboarder. The first quarter mile took an hour due to the lead trailbreaker wallowing up to their thighs and having to pull their skis up through a layer of dense snow. Everyone took turns for about a minute and dropped to the back of the line. Meanwhile another group of skiers (Logan, Troy, Andrew, Jen, and Daron) went back to Sugarbowl to attempt going around the north side of Mount Judah and approaching the MP that way.

Fortunately the trailbreaking got a little bit easier and the last mile to the MP only took 2 hours and he was found cold, hungry and tired in the spot he was supposed to be. The skiers gave him warm clothes, food and a pair of snowshoes and started the hike back to the snowcat, which had been able to get within half a mile of the skiers. Despite 4 skiers stomping the track the MP postholed in the track, even with snowshoes on, and it went slowly- rendezvous at the snowcat happened at about midnight and everyone was out of the field by 0130.

Throughout the night Spike at the CP and Matt at home were instrumental in getting information and direction to the teams. Ray and Deputy Lade were also at the CP.

Dave LadeSpike WimmerRay O'Brien
Dirk Schoonmaker
Bob Wright
Russ Viehmann
Rom Marcucci
Andrew Oesterreicher
Daron Rahlves
Logan Talbott
Jen Callahan
Troy Corliss
Scott Meyer
Sarah Person
Dan Wilkins
Calvin Mitchell
Tony Sabatella
Tim Bosse
Dirk Lewis

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