Summit County Search and Rescue saves skiers in Summit Park
Summit County Search and Rescue came to the aid of two backcountry skiers who found themselves stranded Sunday night.
The Summit County Search and Rescue team was called out just after 8 p.m. Sunday when dispatch received a call from a skier who had a broken binding and needed assistance.
Summit County Sheriff's spokesperson Felicia Sotelo said luckily the skiers had charged cellphones with cell service.
“Search and rescue responded,” Sotelo said. “They went in with a couple of snowmobiles, were able to locate the skiers and bring them down safely. Everyone was fine. There were no injuries or anything like that.”
Sotelo said the call came in the middle of another storm with whiteout conditions.
“Well, it was definitely snowing,” she said. “Luckily, our search and rescue team is amazing and they're well equipped for that type of stuff.”
In this case, having a charged cell phone with service worked. But that doesn’t always happen, especially in more remote locations. Utah Avalanche Forecaster Drew Hardesty said those who frequent the backcountry may want to think about investing in satellite-based communication tools.
“Those new inReach Minis or SPOT devices are awesome," Hardesty said. "They're lightweight, you know, go direct to satellite for calling the cavalry or just a text message. So, I think having communications was really key.”
And with the right equipment, he said a broken binding can even be repaired on the go.
“Those Voile straps, those stretchy but strong straps, you know, they originally were built by that company here in Salt Lake and you can strap your boot to your ski," Hardesty said. "Some people take a spare toe piece for their binding.”
And these straps can also be used in the event you lose a skin or break one or they ice up so much they don’t work.
“I carry four with me every time I go out and if my skins get iced up or whatever, you can just use those Voile straps to strap your skin on," he said. "I've had friends that even resorted like getting some pine boughs and strapping pine boughs to the bottom of the skis because if you can't get out in the backcountry, you're hurt and you know.”
Other backcountry essentials in addition to avalanche rescue equipment include extra layers of clothing, a headlamp or flashlight, food, water, a tool kit and materials to start a fire.