Skier spends a very cold night in the trees |

Skier spends a very cold night in the trees

Elaine Goodman

A skier who strayed out of bounds from Heavenly Mountain Resort got lost and spent the night outdoors before being rescued Friday morning, a Heavenly official said.

The man was skiing alone and no one reported him missing, so no search and rescue operation was launched, said Casey Blann, Heavenly’s vice president of mountain operations.

Heavenly ski patrollers making their morning rounds discovered the man when they heard him yelling for help.

Blann declined to release the skier’s name, but said he was about 20 years old and from Sherman Oaks in Southern California.

The man, who had not skied at Heavenly before, followed two other skiers who ducked under ropes in the midmountain area accessed via the Powderbowl lift, Blann said.

The man had rented ski equipment from a shop outside the resort and apparently carried no cell phone, Blann said.

The skier was found in the Cold Creek drainage area. Ski patrol brought the man down the mountain on a toboggan to a first aid station.

South Lake Tahoe Fire Department took the man to Barton Memorial Hospital. The man told firefighters that he had gone out of bounds about 3 p.m. the previous day and then spent the night in the woods without anything to eat, according to fire department Battalion Chief Scott Douglass.

Blann said the skier suffered mild frostbite.

“This guy is one of the luckiest individuals on the face of the earth,” Blann said, noting that temperatures dipped to 3 degrees that night. “He almost paid the ultimate price out there.”

Blann asked skiers who plan to access the backcountry to take proper precautions, including traveling in a group, taking someone who knows the terrain, bringing proper clothing and equipment, and letting someone know of their plans.

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