Big Bear, CA, January 8, 2016 – Shortly after 1:20 p.m. yesterday, deputies of the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station responded to a report of missing skiers and snowboarders at Snow Summit. It was originally reported that an off-duty female employee of Snow Summit had gone out of bounds, became disoriented as fog and snow conditions persisted throughout the day, and was lost in the forest on the back side of the mountain. Deputies were able to make contact with the female via cell phone and get a screenshot of her location just before her battery went dead.
As search efforts were initiated, deputies received information that two male subjects had located the female’s tracks at the top of the mountain and decided to follow them into the out of bounds area. They also became lost, but were able to locate the female.
Deputies made contact via cell phone with one of the males and were able to obtain GPS coordinates of the subjects’ general location. Due to heavy snow conditions, access could only be gained using heavy equipment. The Snow Cat, snowmobiles, and four-wheel drive search vehicles were deployed from the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station with search teams that included 4 deputies and 8 Search & Rescue members. The search teams ultimately located the subjects on Forest Service Road 2N10 at approximately 4:15 p.m. When they were located, a third male was with them and it was reported that an additional male was still outstanding.
Search efforts continued on foot in snow drifts that were approximately 4 to 5 feet deep. At 4:45 p.m., the search teams received information from Snow Summit personnel that the outstanding male had hiked his way to a chair lift and was able to snowboard down a run to the Ski Patrol office. A total of four lost subjects were rescued and one self-rescued himself from the unmaintained out of bounds area. All of the subjects reported that they were aware of the posted signs, knew they were in an area that was out of bounds, and that they were not supposed to be there. The Big Bear Sheriff’s Station urges residents and visitors to enjoy winter activities responsibly.