Victoria Skofteby and her dog Stella volunteer at Sun Peaks Resort to help look for Ryan Shtuka. (Photo contributed)

Victoria Skofteby and her dog Stella volunteer at Sun Peaks Resort to help look for Ryan Shtuka. (Photo contributed)

Search for Ryan Shtuka goes on

Salmon Arm woman and her dog volunteer at Sun Peaks Resort

Salmon Arm’s Victoria Skofteby was at Sun Peaks Resort the day Ryan Shtuka went missing.

She was attending a wedding there that Saturday so the weather was on everyone’s minds. It was to be an outdoor wedding and the temperature was hovering around -18 C. They woke up to snow that morning.

The outdoor wedding went ahead as planned and it wasn’t until Monday that Skofteby learned of Ryan’s disappearance.

The 20-year-old had moved to Sun Peaks from Beaumont, Alta. on Dec. 1 to work at the ski hill and pursue his love of snowboarding. He left a small get-together at a residence on Burfield Drive just below the ski hill at 2:10 a.m. that Saturday, Feb. 17, heading to his home about a 10- to 15-minute walk away. He has not been seen since.

Skofteby contacted Heather Shtuka, Ryan’s mom, to provide information about the weather and has been in touch the last while. The family was seeking volunteers, dogs and snowshoes to help with the search so, on Monday, March 6, Skofteby headed to the resort with her black lab Stella.

“I’m the type of person who loves to help,” she says.

Related: Family offers cash reward to find son missing on Sun Peaks

Stella, who sniffs constantly, would find spots where volunteers with shovels would come and dig, or a backhoe would dig, or she and Stella would search an area where the backhoe had just dug. Many volunteers were there using poles to poke in the snow.

Ryan’s dad Scott was digging around the house where Ryan lives, she says.

“There’s a lot of snow– it’s so deep up there, there’s so much.”

A command centre is set up in Hearthstone Lodge where volunteers sign in.

Ryan’s mom stays there from morning until night, Skofteby says.

“It was very emotionally hard, seeing the two parents in pain. I’m very sensitive to people and pain and that’s why I wanted to help,” she says. Skofteby’s emotions were also tinged with fear of discovering a body, at the same time as wanting to help the family find closure.

Ryan’s mom Heather told the Salmon Arm Observer that Wednesday through Friday, the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association will be on site with their search dogs. No one else will be searching so the dogs can focus.

“We will be regrouping on Friday depending on what is found and coming up with a plan starting Saturday,” Heather says.

She suggests that people wanting to help should watch the Missing: Ryan Shtuka Facebook site.

If more volunteers are needed to continue searching come Saturday, it will be posted there.

Heather says Kamloops Search and Rescue have come up twice but won’t be back unless tips point to a change of location or the environment changes.

Related: SAR suspends search for man at Sun Peaks

People have been overwhelmingly supportive, she says. Not only the family’s Alberta community and hometown of Beaumont, but the community of Kamloops and Sun Peaks Resort.

Heather describes Ryan as a “perfectly imperfect” person with lots of wonderful qualities who was loved by friends and family. He was at Sun Peaks so he could board a lot and work at a ski resort for a season.

She says she and her husband Scott filmed the walk from the residence Ryan was visiting to his home.

“It took us about 18 minutes. If he was walking, it would have taken him 10 to 15 minutes on the path side.”

He could have gone right or left or, more unlikely, behind the building.

She says he would have consumed some alcohol that night.

“He’s 20 years old, in a ski resort, surrounded by a group of people here for like-minded reasons. They’d gone to an event at a bar… It’s safe to say he did consume alcohol.”

Heather says there’s no reason to think he’s not in the area. He has never missed work; it would be completely out of character for him to do so. And he would never leave without getting in touch with his family.

“Given the environment and the terrain up here, nothing suggests he’s left this area.”

Ryan’s 12-year-old sister Julianna has been with her parents at Sun Peaks and 17-year-old Jordyn was to arrive Wednesday night.

Related: Another plea to find missing Sun Peaks man

At this time Heather says the family is taking things moment by moment. “Some moments are better than others.”

They’re between feeling hope and feeling grief, but can’t claim either one completely.

“It’s good to be surrounded by friends and family who give us strength when we don’t have enough to go on. We just want to thank the communities for their support and their continuation of prayers.”

How long will they search?

“Scott and I will stay until the last bit of snow has left. At this point in time we will put our lives on hold if only for a little bit to focus on Ryan and to make sure he can come home with us. We will wait until there is a 100 per cent sign that he is not here at Sun Peaks and then we can go home. We won’t leave until he comes with us.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Scott Shtuka, Ryan’s dad, has been driving bobcats, searching for his son at Sun Peaks Resort. (Photo contributed)

Scott Shtuka, Ryan’s dad, has been driving bobcats, searching for his son at Sun Peaks Resort. (Photo contributed)

Heather Shtuka, Ryan’s mom. (Photo contributed)

Heather Shtuka, Ryan’s mom. (Photo contributed)

Just Posted

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

Most Read