LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC4) – Two skiers were saved after a long rescue mission Friday evening.
According to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, team members were called to Mount Superior for reports of two “cliffed-out” skiers around 8:20 p.m., April 16.
Officials say the two set out from Alta early Friday afternoon, intending to ski the south face of Superior.
“They missed their line and ended up descending further west, between Superior and Monte Cristo,” adds SLCOSAR. “They enjoyed turns in excellent snow until encountering a cliff band which blocked downhill progress.”
After the pair realized they were not on the south face of Superior and had no technical gear to rappel or knowledge of a “sneak route” around the cliffs, they decided to call for help.
SLCOSAR shares that the two skiers were advised to go back up to the summit of Superior where they would have the option to descend either the south face or back down the approach route.
A team of four rescuers were then deployed.
Each rescuer responded to the cliffed-out skiers on skis. They took with themselves warm clothing, headlamps, food, and water for the stuck skiers before skiing back down with them.
“The Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau was contacted and we requested they assist in the rescue if available,” adds SLCOSAR. “A team of rescuers were able to watch the skiers slow progress uphill from a spot on LCC road below Snowbird, using night vision and thermal imaging optics.”
According to the team, as soon as the DPS crew became available, they flew to the skiers’ location and attempted to hoist them off the mountain.
“As the ground team was an hour or more away and the patients still had considerable elevation to gain the summit, a hoist operation was chosen,” they share. “It was also around 15 degrees on the mountain and the skiers had been out for more than 8 hours.”
Officials state that the hoist operation went smoothly and soon both patients were back at Alta base. The ground team was recalled and returned to command safely.
The rescue mission off the mountain was then concluded by 11:30 p.m.
“We thank the Utah Department of Public Safety, Alta Marshalls, and Alta ski patrol for their assistance with the rescue,” they express.
The SLCOSAR invites the public to donate to all-volunteer teams by visiting the link below: http://saltlakesearchandrescue.org/