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Skier rescued after spending 5 hours on ‘dark and cold night’ in South Okanagan

Penticton Search and Rescue is reminding people to plan and prepare before adventuring

Penticton’s Search and Rescue Team is reminding people to be prepared for the unexpected after a skier was trapped on a “dark and cold night” for close to five hours near Apex.

The skier was able to call the RCMP for help after an equipment issue at around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, and with darkness already falling, police brought in PENSAR and the Apex Ski Patrol to assist.

According to the skier’s distress call, they’d had an equipment issue and the terrain snow conditions in the area east of Apex had left them unable to return to safety.

Due to the difficult snow and terrain, the Apex Ski Patrol’s four snowmobiles were only able to get to the area where the skier had been last located but no further, leaving it up to PENSAR members and a ski patrol avalanche technician to ski their way out.

Around 9 p.m. rescuers made contact with the exhausted skier and were able to bring him back to the search command centre for evaluation.

“We always like a happy ending with no injuries to any of the parties involved and want to thank Apex Mountain Patrol for all their help,” reads PENSAR’s post on social media. “If you’re planning to be out in the backcountry plan for the unexpected. Use the AdventureSmart 3t’s — trip planning, training and remembering to take the essentials.”

READ MORE: Penticton Search and Rescue air and ground crews busy with injured and lost hikers

In addition to the 3ts, PENSAR had several other tips for people planning to explore the great outdoors:

• If you call for help - stay put. It’s easier for SAR resources to find your once we have your location.

• Plan your trip by preparing a plan, researching where you are going and knowing the conditions if traveling in mountainous terrain.

• Carry or use a navigation device to guide your travels.

• With everyone using a cellphone, add an extra battery.

• Carry a flashlight or headlamp.

• Have materials to start a fire and have something for a shelter.

• Carry food, water and a pocket knife

• Make sure you have a first-aid kit

On Sunday, Dec. 11 PENSAR was back at Apex along with search and rescue personnel from Central Okanagan SAR, Oliver-Osoyoos SAR, members from Apex Ski Patrol Teams and Penticton’s local snowmobile club for winter response training.

The training included practice at an avalanche rescue and rescuing a lost snowmobiler.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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