North Shore Search and Rescue says it doesn't want any part of the $10,000 Cypress Mountain ski resort is demanding from Sebastien Boucher for his dramatic rescue earlier this week.
The ski hill administration said they would donate any recouped costs to North Shore Search and Rescue, the volunteer squad credited with finding Sebastien Boucher cold and dehydrated late Tuesday night.
But on Thursday, rescue spokesman Tim Jones said he could not accept any funds from Cypress Mountain.
"I really appreciate the offer, and we could always use donations," Jones said in a phone interview. "But - and I really want to emphasize this - they went out of their way. They assigned so many staff and resources to this to help us. They deserve to keep that money."
The search and rescue team itself accepts donations, but has a policy against fines and charges. "If Cypress deems they want this guy to pay the bill, they will. ... What they're trying to do is make a statement about how much they contributed to this," Jones said.
Other ski hills charge for similar incidents. "It totally varies from incident to incident, but that's been our policy for years for those who knowingly go outside the controlled recreational area, resulting in a rescue operation," said Sarah Lusk, spokeswoman for Grouse Mountain.
Whistler Blackcomb also bills for reimbursement for the use of machinery and personnel involved in a search outside the resort's operating boundaries.
"We are very pleased that he was rescued but we find nothing heroic about Mr. Boucher's reckless adventure, especially after requiring the expenditure of so many resources and impacting so many people over the past two days," Cypress Mountain marketing director Joffrey Koe-man said in a statement. The ski resort was critical of Boucher for entering an out-of-bounds area and for leading searchers on a "wild goose chase."