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North Shore Rescue saves two backcountry skiers lost on Mt Seymour

Pair of women got lost after accidentally skiing into the out of bounds
The snow-covered top of Mount Seymour is visible through low cloud as a Harbour Air floatplane approaches Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday December 28, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

By Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter NORTH SHORE NEWS

North Shore Rescue saved two backcountry skiers Thursday who had been lost on Mt Seymour just before dark.

The rescue team were alerted by North Vancouver RCMP Thursday evening of two women in their mid 20s who were lost by the perimeter trail, after accidentally skiing into the out of bounds territory.

Search manager Stan Sovdat said the two women were unfamiliar with the area and had skied down Brockton Point and past Brockton chair believing the ski runs continued that way.

“They were a little panicky and a little uncomfortable, they didn’t know where they were and had no clue how to get out of their situation,” he said.

Two squads, one a team of two and another a team of four, located the women and ferried them to safety by Goldie Lake. They were uninjured and “happy to see them,” said Sovdat, but were disappointed that they had had to ask for assistance.

Sovdat said the women had offered to ski the rest of the way down the mountain once they had learned of their location, but he advised them to stay where they were for fear their dwindling phone battery life and minimal supplies would put them in danger.

“They were wishing they had gone downhill and gotten out of the situation themselves, but I’m glad they didn’t because if they went the wrong way, or if they had gotten out of the snow or onto hard snow, it would have been pretty difficult to start tracking them,” he said.

The two had been “fairly inexperienced,” said Sovdat, especially for the backcountry. With the women only planning to stay within the resort they hadn’t equipped themselves with an avalanche kit, transceivers, shovels, or headlamps.

“They weren’t anticipating being caught by the dark,” he said.

With the current heightened avalanche risk, Sovdat said it pays to be extra cautious and prepared when hitting the slopes, especially if the trip is planned for the backcountry. Proper training, good navigation, adequate supplies and having “the ability to call for help” when it’s needed are all important factors for avoiding dangerous situations, he said.

READ MORE: 2 skiers recovered alive from separate weekend avalanches