Helicopter to join California search for missing Lake Tahoe skiers
Searchers are hoping blue skies today will allow helicopters to join a search for two skiers who have been missing from Alpine Meadows ski resort since Saturday afternoon.
“Hopefully [we’ll get] three helicopters so we can just scour the area,” said Placer County Sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Carter.
The two San Francisco men ” Patrick Frost, 35, and Christopher Gerwig, 32 ” were last seen in a bar at Alpine Meadows resort lodge asking directions to several outlying areas of the ski resort.
The searchers, including Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue skiers and Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol ” have been searching an enormous area including the backside and both edges of the resort.
“The snow erased all the tracks,” said Carter, leaving the search without any starting point.
The weather has hampered the search, miring snowmobiles in deep snow and leaving much of the work up to athletic backcountry skiers trained in search and rescue.
Today, officials hope California Highway Patrol, U.S. Navy and Placer County Sheriff helicopters will turn up clues.
Despite temperatures that dipped into the single digits last night, officials are holding out hope that the two “experienced” skiers have survived the frigid temperatures and biting winds that have buffeted the mountains since Saturday.
“They are pretty expert skiers with a degree of backcountry survival knowledge,” said Carter. “With two people you have some shared body heat, so that’s a good thing.”
Carter said he hopes the men have holed up in a snow cave, and have arranged their skis and equipment so it will be visible to the searchers combing the area.
“We’re hitting it hard today,” said Carter of the search.
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