Owner of ski found near North Shore avalanche site comes forward, search called off
VANCOUVER -- A lost ski prompted a significant search and rescue response near Cypress Mountain Resort Sunday.
North Shore Rescue crews were called to Hollyburn Mountain after a backcountry skier came across a pile of recent-looking avalanche debris, according to spokesperson Doug Pope.
A lone ski was found in the pile, prompting the rescue team to head in and start investigating and digging.
The search and rescue agency shared photos of the ski on Facebook, and soon a skier responded saying it belonged to him.
Search manager Peter Haig told CTV News Vancouver that search crews were able to match markings on the ski to the man's description of it and confirm that it was his.
Haig said the incident that separated the man from his ski happened about two weeks ago.
"Apparently he crashed and one ski went down the hill a long way," he said. "He gashed his head, and by the time he recovered his one ski, he didn't have the energy or the inclination to go back up to it, so he's left it there."
"He was not looking forward to going into the area because it's very steep, and so he just abandoned his ski," Haig said.
North Shore Rescue now believes no one is buried under the slide, and it has called off its search.
Haig said 24 searchers and a helicopter were involved in the response, and that teams take all calls about potential avalanche burials seriously.
"If there's any possibility of somebody there, we'll always go out for them as much as we can, providing we can get the avalanche (safety) approval" Haig said. "That's the only thing that would stop us going out, and we'd certainly be keen to go as soon as we could."
For weeks, avalanche specialists and outdoor safety experts have been warning about unstable snow packs and avalanche risks on the North Shore.
Earlier this month, two separate avalanches near Whistler claimed the lives of a skier and a snowboarder, respectively.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim