Back-country skier suffers hypothermia after getting lost

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue called to Big White for lost skiers

Two lost skiers were found by Search and Rescue Sunday night just as hypothermia was setting in.

Mounties engaged the help of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue at around 8 p.m. March 12 to find two men in their 20s who went missing after leaving their group while skiing at Big White.

“They had gone back country skiing, did a wrong turn and that took them further into the back country,” said Ephraim Nowak president and search manager of COSAR.

The search and rescue team sent in members who were accompanied by the Kelowna Snowmobile Club, who often assist in the Greystoke and Big White area.

“We ended locating a set of tracks that belonged to the skiers, but it looked like they were moving, so it took awhile to reach them,” said Nowak,” adding that it took until 3:30 a.m. to find them.

By that time they were both showing th eearly signs of hypothermia.

Once warmed on site, they were transported to BC Ambulance to look over.

The operation ended well, but Nowak pointed out that it would be ideal if skiers planned for the worst.

Search and Rescue have been on search calls for lost skiers every weekend this winter, he said, and the ones who fare best have gone in knowing how to react.

“This search lasted a little longer because they kept moving all night instead of staying put and they were moving in the wrong direction,” said Nowak.

“We always tell people to stay put, build yourself a shelter, something to signal with and we will find them,” said Nowak.

Some basic survival gear would come in handy, as well. That would be food and water, something to start a fire, something to signal with and a map, compass or a GPS.

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