A backcountry skier’s fall into a hidden tree well was a successful rescue but it serves as a warning to others.
Based on a statement by Terrace Search and Rescue, the crews were called at around 3:20 PM to the backcountry of Shames Mountain, west of Terrace.
Two local men, in their early 40s were skiing when one of them went missing for up to 2 hours. His partner skied up and down the mountain in search for him and on the third pass, found him in a tree well where he was buried and suspended upside down.
The man was injured, hypothermic and could not move but was able to carve out an air pocket to help him breathe. The uninjured skier called search and rescue.
According to search manage Dave Jephson, the original plan was for the 2 men to wait on the mountain until morning for a helicopter rescue. Nevertheless, the injuries of the fallen skier initiated the crew to act right away despite the fading light.
The SAR team had to deal with fresh snow and the remoteness of the tree well. It required them to move up and down the mountains covering hundred of meters of elevation.
The 2 men were met by the crew halfway and the SAR team moved them off the mountain and the man was transported to a healthcare facility for emergency care.
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