2 Skiers Rescued After Becoming Lost and Exiting Sugar Bowl Resort, CA, Boundaries

Luke Guilford | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue.

Sugar Bowl Resort is located in California, Northwest of Lake Tahoe. On Sunday, February 5th, a couple in their early 50s became lost and accidentally left the ski area’s boundary.

Harsh weather conditions decreased visibility, causing the two skiers to become disoriented as they made their way toward Crow’s Nest from the Disney Express lift. The couple continued skiing down the backside of the mountain until they realized they had made a wrong turn. They then started boot-packing their way back up the mountain, quickly realizing they won’t be able to make it back up.

Luckily for them, around 3 pm, the skiers found an unlocked outhouse at Onion Creek Campground, where they planned to hunker down for the night. The lack of cell service prevented the couple from contacting friends or emergency services.

Around 5:50 pm that day, their friends reported the couple missing. Utilizing a phone ping, the rescue crews pinpointed the last general area the two were skiing at, directing the search toward the backside of the resort. The search would not be easy; avalanche danger was extremely high, making it difficult for Search and Rescue (SAR) to navigate the out-of-bounds area.

The search party was a combination of Tahoe Nordic SAR and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. Avoiding avalanche danger as much as possible, the team traversed around the bottom of the mountain on snowmobiles until they came upon tracks around 9 pm that night. The team located the couple quickly after the tracks were found. The couple was quickly transported to a snowcat to get them off the mountain.

It was a collective effort. The staff of Sugar Bowl stayed late, running lifts and searching in-bounds, hoping to find the couple.

This is a reminder that precautions must be taken whether you’re skiing in-bounds at a resort or in the backcountry. 

A huge “Thank you” goes out to all those who worked hard to rescue the couple. Tahoe Nordic SAR is a group of volunteers made up of EMTs, doctors, nurses, ski patrollers, and experienced backcountry skiers. The nonprofit organization works closely with Placer County Sheriff’s Office to rescue those lost in the backcountry. For more information, visit http://www.tahoenordicsar.org.

Sugar Bowl Resort
The approximate area where the couple became lost, disappearing on the backside of the mountain. Photo Credit: Sugar Bowl Resort.

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One thought on “2 Skiers Rescued After Becoming Lost and Exiting Sugar Bowl Resort, CA, Boundaries

  1. Everyone can and does make mistakes, myself included. That being said, I am curious to know more details about how they exited the resort area. Is there not a boundary line (ie: rope) they would have had to intentionally cross? And if there was (which is the industry standard) then why did they chose to do so?

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