Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team treks 8 miles into Lake Tahoe backcountry to bring lost snowboarder to safety

Once a skier or rider leaves resort boundaries, Placer County Sheriff’s Office dispatches TNSAR, an elite team of skiers and snowmobilers trained to find lost people in the vast and unforgiving wilderness terrain around Lake Tahoe. See this story at to view a video of the team.
Courtesy of Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue


The nonprofit Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team has 100 skiers, snowmobilers, and other volunteers who rescue lost alpine and cross-country skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and snow bikers. In existence since 1976, the team also helps locates downed aircraft, rescues stranded hikers and climbers, and educates the public about mountain safety. The group conducts an annual Winter Survival Program to North Tahoe/Truckee area 4th Grade Class.

More info at or

The team’s primary fundraising event is coming up March 3 – The Great Ski Race, an epic and beautiful 30K cross-country ski race through the woods and mountains from Tahoe XC in Tahoe City to Cottonwood Restaurant in Truckee. Sign up now at

Source: Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — A snowboarder who went outside the boundaries at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort made it out of the snowbound backcountry thanks to efforts by a local search and rescue team.

The rescue occurred in the bitter cold morning hours of Feb. 1, according to a press release form the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team.

The snowboarder had crossed the resort boundaries late in the afternoon on Jan. 31, triggering the Placer County Sheriff’s Office to dispatch the rescue team, which consists of elite skiers and snowmobilers.

Team members hit the snow at about 8 p.m. and headed west on backcountry skis into the forests and canyons leading toward the remote Hell Hole Reservoir.

“We descended off the ridge in good weather and quickly found the track,” said Calvin Mitchell, a TNSAR skier and snowmobiler. “We skied down toward Diamond Crossing while taking several diversionary and frustrating uphill jaunts for as much as 300 vertical feet before dropping back into the drainage.”

For five hours, across eight undulating miles, they followed the snowboarder’s trail. Crossing Bear Pen Creek, Powderhorn Creek and Little Powderhorn Creek, the search team continued downstream another mile or so, and finally reached the missing person at 1 a.m., according to the press release.

Frightened, hungry and cold, he was huddled next to Five Lakes Creek just 2 miles from Hell Hole.

“He was cold and wet, but otherwise fine,” Mitchell said. “After getting a new set of clothes from our packs and devouring a lot of the team’s extra food and water, he was ready for the hike to safety.”

At 9:30 a.m., Feb. 1 TNSAR rescuers and their survivor were picked up on a ridge above the ski resort by snowmobilers and a helicopter from the U.S. Naval Air Station Lemoore (in Fresno), Mitchell said.

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