July 17th, Mt. Ruapehu ski area, NZ— A woman was about to drop her last run of the day when she phoned to say that she was aiming to end up in Massey ski lodge before her battery died.
By 5:50 PM, the skier had not been seen, and officials were notified about the missing person. Turoa ski patrol, Ruapehu alpine rescue, a Greenlea helicopter, and volunteers from LandSAR began searching a vast amount of terrain, as the skier’s starting point was unknown.
After hours of searching, a ski patroller spotted the woman in chest-deep snow at 2:30 AM, but was unable to reach her. The helicopter was then called, dropping a rescuer nearby to dig her out and lead her to an open area, where she was retrieved.
National Park police Constable Conrad Smith reported that, “She was mildly hypothermic but otherwise OK, just extremely grateful we’d managed to find her.”
“With deteriorating weather it was silently acknowledged that she would be unlikely to survive the night if she was in the open, so needless to say it was with great relief that she was eventually found.”
It was reported that the woman followed the wrong valley and was led out of bounds, getting stuck, and needing assistance.
Smith (and SnowBrains) would like to remind everyone that, “Skiers leaving the skifield boundary should always be travelling with at least one other person, and be carrying a transceiver, shovel and a probe at a minimum.