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Family rescued at Sun Peaks makes big donation

Image Credit: Mike Ritcey
February 13, 2016 - 2:30 PM

KAMLOOPS – A family of skiers rescued by helicopter from an avalanche zone at Sun Peaks Resort on Family Day has made a very large donation to their rescuers.

The family, including children ranging in age from six to 13, accidently ended up out of bounds on Monday, Feb. 8 and called for help. They had ducked under ropes at the resort and ended up in avalanche terrain.

Kamloops Search and Rescue volunteers were called out and eventually the family was flown out of the danger zone by helicopter.

The family has sent their rescuers a large donation and a letter cautioning others not to make the same mistake they did, according to Alan Hobler with Kamloops Search and Rescue in a Facebook post.

“This donation not only will cover the cost of the search but will allow (Kamloops Search and Rescue) to purchase much needed equipment to help in future searches,” Hobler says in the post.

Hobler says the incident is a good reminder that people should never duck under the ropes on a ski hill.

He also posted the letter the volunteers received from the family.

It is easy to stereotype “idiots” like me and think that this could never happen to you, but please learn from my story. It was not for the sake of adventure or fresh powder that I decided to go out of bounds with my family and end up in such a serious situation.

After skiing on what I mistook as a valid ski run headed to the village, I found myself having to choose between the six of us walking back uphill 400 metres or cross the out of bounds line for a short cut to another run. After consulting my GPS and seeing how close to the run we were, seeing fresh ski tracks and knowing trails fed into our intended route nearby, I chose to cross into the out of bounds area.

At the time it didn’t seem so, but clearly this was a huge mistake and I hope that others can learn from it.

The benefit seemed to greatly outweigh the risk. Even though we are all excellent skiers this fact didn’t play into my decision as the terrain was gently sloped and the next run supposedly only a short ski away.

After a bit of skiing in the trees brought us to steep terrain, it became clear that we had missed the run and were not tracking towards it. I fought the urge to continue, swallowed my pride and made the call for help.

The big message I hope to pass on is that on the mountain, even small calculated risks can be quickly become very big mistakes.

Please don’t let one mistake snowball into something terrible. I was wrong to go beyond boundary markers. I am very thankful for the skilled personnel who put their own lives at risk for our well-being.

Thank you.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infonews.ca. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

— With files from The Canadian Press

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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