Skier rescued near Heavenly Mountain Resort offers thanks to rescuers |

Skier rescued near Heavenly Mountain Resort offers thanks to rescuers

Members of Douglas County Sheriff's Search and Rescue huddle around a fire to keep warm during a rescue last week in Motts Canyon.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

A rescued skier recently thanked members of Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue for coming to his aid.

“The incredible and selfless work that you do, making a real difference, is something I won’t forget until the end of my days,” he said, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

On Feb. 22, two skiers were reported lost near Mott Canyon, and the search and rescue team was toned out to assist. Searchers located the two skiers around 8 p.m.

Due to weather conditions they were not able to be evacuated and SAR remained with the two subjects overnight, where low temperatures were in the teens.

“It was a challenging event,” Sgt. Bernadette Smith said. “The rescue was a complete success with no injuries to the skiers.”

Members of Douglas County, El Dorado and Washoe rescue personnel were involved.

“The search and rescue of lost hikers or skiers can involve a variety of personnel from law enforcement agencies, fire and paramedic districts, search and rescue teams, forest service employees and sometimes military specialists,” Smith said. “One agency will take the lead coordinating the participating organizations that are well versed in outdoor skills and are invaluable to those experiencing an emergency while recreating outdoors.”

All of agencies involved last week were prepared for outdoor rescues and are ready to put themselves at risk at a moment’s notice, Smith said.

“It is what they train for,” she said. “Through education of the public, there is hope that safety and sound decision making practices are followed, resulting in fewer calls and incidents. Individuals are reminded to act responsibly, use good judgment and not put themselves at risk. If they are in harm’s way, the rescue teams are in harm’s way.”

Smith encouraged people who are venturing outdoors to check the weather, plan carefully, dress in layers, have the proper quality equipment, carry water, and be prepared to turn around if danger lies ahead.

“Remember the quote from Ed Viesturs, ‘Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory.’”

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