Sun Peaks warns of being billed for out-of-bounds rescues
Skiers and snowboarders heading to Sun Peaks Resort will encounter epic amounts of the white stuff — and possible payment for their rescue if they deliberately venture out of bounds.
Sun Peaks is enjoying a historic December, with close to 200 centimetres of snow gracing the resort.
However, in the wake of rescues of outdoor enthusiasts who decided to go out of bounds at Cypress Bowl in West Vancouver and on Revelstoke Mountain, officials at Sun Peaks are reminding visitors to remain within the marked ski area boundary.
“There should be no reason for resort skiers to venture beyond the boundary, particularly with the immense amount of powder within bounds,” said Jamie Tattersfield, the 20-year veteran director of mountain operations at Sun Peaks.
Wind and intense snow flurries in the last few days have combined to create hazards in the backcountry. Heavy snowstorms reduce visibility, create deep hazardous tree wells and lead to instabilities in the snowpack that can result in avalanches.
Inside the ski area boundary, Tattersfield noted, slopes and trails are monitored by experts on a daily basis to increase safety.
“Skiing is a healthy and exhilarating activity,” said Tattersfield
“Thanks to thoughtful trail design and natural attributes, Sun Peaks is regarded as one of the safest destinations in the country. But, like most ski areas in the province, Sun Peaks and local search and rescue respond to lost persons that have purposefully ducked under a roped boundary and ventured knowingly out of bounds.
"These unprepared skiers and snowboarders often make uninformed decisions that lead to a necessary rescue effort.”
In cases in which the mountain resort is required to conduct a rescue, the individual is responsible and may be charged for the cost of their rescue.
This week, Cypress Mountain confirmed it is planning to send a $10,000 bill to 33-year-old Sebastien Boucher, the snowboarder who got lost after going out-of-bounds on Sunday, Dec. 16. Boucher was rescued on Tuesday night (Dec. 18) after search-and-rescue crews spent more than 48 hours trying to find him.