Multiple rescues on southwestern B.C. mountains amid heavy snowfall

WHISTLER, B.C. — Several people venturing into the mountains in southwestern British Columbia had to be rescued in separate operations over the weekend.

North Shore Rescue says on its Facebook page that five skiers were reported lost late Sunday by Whistler Search and Rescue, and a helicopter was used to help in the operation to find and rescue them.

In another search by North Shore Rescue, a team went out late Sunday when an out-of-bounds snowboarder called to report he was lost near Cypress Mountain.

Rescuers say poor weather prevented the use of a helicopter, but ground-based searchers found the man below the Howe Sound Crest Trail, hypothermic and dehydrated.

The man was brought to safely despite "very challenging" conditions as recent heavy snow has raised the avalanche risk in the area.

North Shore Rescue says crews were also activated Saturday for reports of a missing hiker near Cypress, but just as crews were setting out the woman and her dog were able to find their own way out.

Southwestern B.C. saw periods of significant snowfall late Sunday and early Monday, with Whistler Blackcomb reporting 17 centimetres, while Cypress saw as much as 34 centimetres.

North Shore Rescue says the snowboarder rescued near Cypress Mountain was "very fortunate" that he had some battery power left on his cellphone to contact help, and that there was reception in the area.

"Complicating matters, the snowboarder ended up moving locations, despite being told to stay put and wait for rescue," the Facebook post from North Shore Rescue says. "This made the rescue more difficult, as he moved away from search crews and into increasingly difficult terrain.

"Had he stayed put, he would have been rescued more quickly. This is why we always recommend people lost on the North Shore to stay put and wait for rescue."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2024.

The Canadian Press