Family rescued from Sun Peaks makes large donation to Kamloops Search and Rescue

Kamloops Search and Rescue manager Alan Hobler would only say the donation is sizeable

By Kamloops This Week

A family rescued after skiing out of bounds at Sun Peaks Resort last week has made a large donation to the organization that saved them.

Kamloops Search and Rescue manager Alan Hobler would only say the donation is a sizeable amount that will cover the cost of the rescue and help purchase a lot of much needed equipment.

The family of six, including children ranging in age from six to 13, ducked under ropes at Sun Peaks Resort on Family Day (Feb. 8) and ended up in avalanche terrain, where they were in contact with search and rescue crews before being plucked to safety by an RCMP helicopter.

Hobler said the incident is a good reminder that people should never duck under the ropes on a ski hill.

“Kamloops Search and Rescue has just received a very large donation from the family of six that was rescued at Sun Peaks on Family Day. With the donation came a letter (see below) cautioning others not to make the same mistake they did,” Hobler posted on Facebook.

“This donation not only will cover the cost of the search but will also allow KSAR to purchase much needed equipment to help in future searches, making Kamloops and the surrounding communities a safer place. Sometimes good people make bad decisions. Often in the public and media we see criticism of the subjects that we rescue without fully understanding the circumstance or the individuals involved. This often erodes the support for search and Rescue in BC and makes people believe something similar will never happen to them.

“KSAR believes in treating all their subjects with compassion, understanding and respect. We attempt to learn from and educate the public about other’s experiences.”

The donation came with a letter from the father, who has not been identified, saying he hopes others can learn from his mistake.

He also thanked the search and rescue crews for risking their lives to save his family.

The family’s letter:

It is easy to stereotype “idiots” like me and think that this could never happen to you, but please learn from my story.

It was not for the sake of adventure or fresh powder that I decided to go out of bounds with my family and end up in such a serious situation. After skiing on what I mistook as a valid ski run headed to the village, I found myself having to choose between the 6 of us walking back uphill 400 meters or cross the out of bounds line for a short cut to another run.

After consulting my GPS and seeing how close to the run we were, seeing fresh ski tracks and knowing trails fed into our intended route nearby, I chose to cross into the out of bounds area. At the time it didn’t seem so, but clearly this was a huge mistake and I hope that others can learn from it.

The benefit seemed to greatly outweigh the risk. Even though we are all excellent skiers. this fact didn’t play into my decision as the terrain was gently sloped and the next run supposedly only a short ski away.

After a bit of skiing in the trees brought us to steep terrain, it became clear that we had missed the run and were not tracking towards it, I fought the urge to continue, swallowed my pride and made the call for help.

The big message I hope to pass on is that on the mountain, even small calculated risks can be quickly become very big mistakes. Please don’t let one mistake snowball into something terrible.

I was wrong to go beyond boundary markers. I am very thankful for the skilled personnel who put their own lives at risk for our well-being.