Stuck snowmobiler spends the night in Steamboat Springs backcountry
January 15, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers were able to locate a snowmobiler Sunday morning who had to spend the night in the backcountry after getting stuck.
The 51-year-old man is from the New Hampshire area but now lives in Steamboat Springs.
“That’s why he wasn’t real familiar with the area and the terrain,” Search and Rescue Incident Commander Kristia Check-Hill said.
The man had started snowmobiling from Dumont Lake on Rabbit Ears Pass.
At about 2 p.m., the man called his nephew and said his sled was stuck on Buffalo Mountain under the power lines.
“And that’s the last anybody heard from him,” Check-Hill said.
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Because the man did not call 911, rescuers were not able to “ping” the cell phone to get his location.
The man had started snowmobiling in Grand County, and they sent a search team with six snowmobiles along with a deputy.
The Grand County team along with a six-member team from Routt County began the search Saturday evening, and they met up at Fish Creek Reservoir without finding the man.
A Classic Air Medical helicopter was called to help, but it was unable to fly Saturday night because of the weather.
Rescuers resumed the search at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
The Routt County team searched the area where they thought the man was most likely located.
Check-Hill said the deputy from Grand County informed more than 100 snowmobilers about the missing man. Shortly after 11 a.m., two snowmobilers found the man and called 911.
Classic Air landed to check on the man, and he refused medical treatment.
Rescuers helped free the man’s sled, and everybody was out of the field at 12:40 p.m.
“He was OK besides being cold,” Check-Hill said.
Overnight temperatures were in the mid-teens in Steamboat.
The man built a snow cave for the night, was unable to start a fire and had limited supplies.
“He was not planning on being out all night so pretty much the bare minimum,” Check-Hill said. “The learning point is don’t go by yourself. Make sure your cell phone is charged and call 911 first so we can get a ping.”