Crime - Sacto 911

Missing snowboarder hoisted to safety after night in freezing weather

A snowboarder who was reported missing after skiing out of bounds at the Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort was rescued Wednesday after a night on the mountain in freezing conditions.

A helicopter crew from the California Highway Patrol’s Valley Division Air Operations was called about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday to assist the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office in a search and rescue.

The snowboarder, identified only as a 32-year-old man from Los Angeles, had been reported missing Tuesday, prompting the Sheriff’s Office to launch a search-and-rescue operation. The CHP helicopter crew was summoned at dawn Wednesday along with a Calstar air ambulance stationed at South Lake Tahoe Airport, according to a CHP news release.

The two helicopters divided the search area and began grid searches. The Calstar helicopter found the snowboarder and called for the CHP helicopter to remove the victim from the area. Due to steep terrain and deep snow, a plan was developed to hoist the snowboarder from the site.

The helicopter lowered a search-and-rescue team member next to the victim to place him in a harness. The victim was then hoisted up to the helicopter and flown back to the command post. The victim was transported by ground ambulance to Barton Hospital in South Lake Tahoe for treatment of cold-related injuries, according to the news release.

The CHP cited the incident as a reminder for skiers and snowboarders to obey out-of-bound markers in ski areas.

“With the large amount of snow that has fallen this year, it is very easy to become trapped in deep snow and possible to freeze to death,” the news release stated.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

Related stories from Sacramento Bee