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Two out-of-bounds rescues in one night at Cypress

North Shore Rescue emphasizes that they share stories about out-of-bounds rescues as a means to educate others, not to shame

North Shore Rescue is issuing a warning about ducking the rope at the local ski resorts after two people in one night had to be helped out of precarious deep snow outside the Cypress Mountain resort boundaries.

The team was first called around 4:30 p.m. Thursday when they were alerted to an experienced skier who’d become stuck in deep snow. With the help of Cypress Mountain ski patrol, he was able to “wade” back to the ski runs, said North Shore Rescue search manager Dave Barnett.

Half an hour later though, a snowboarder became stuck out of bounds and called his family who alerted Cypress staff.

North Shore Rescue was able to ping his cellphone’s co-ordinates, which placed him about 500 metres away from the mountain’s 3B parking lot.

Avalanche danger was listed as “considerable” at the time. The man tried to make his way to a service road about 80 metres away but after 20 minutes, found he was making little progress.

“At the time, he was a little bit panicky. He was cold,” Barnett said. “By that point, it was pretty inevitable that he needed some assistance.”

It only took North Shore Rescue volunteers about 30 minutes to reach the man with snowshoes and a spare avalanche transceiver. He was fit enough to snowshoe back out to the parking area where his family was waiting, Barnett said.

North Shore Rescue always urges people to stay within ski resort boundaries, which are placed specifically to keep people out of avalanche terrain, gullies and drainages.

“Obviously this time of year, there can be serious avalanche risks so people should be equipped with all the proper avalanche equipment and know how to use it and travel with somebody else,” Barnett said. “As soon as you venture out of the controlled area, you’re at real risk.… [You cannot] walk through even knee-deep snow up a steep bank or slope. It’s very tiring and most of them can’t manage it.”

A social media post from North Shore Rescue on Friday emphasized that they share stories about out-of-bounds rescues as a means to educate others, not to shame. The post also pre-emptively reminds the public that they do not support the concept of charging anyone for rescues.

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