On Saturday 02/02/13 at 6:15 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a report of two missing skiers in the area north of Bridger Bowl. Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol was contacted by friends of the overdue skiers. Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol started their investigation and found someone that had seen two skiers leave the northern boundary of the ski area and ski into Wolverine Bowl around 3:00 P.M. A Sheriff’s Deputy Search & Rescue Coordinator was dispatched to Bridger Bowl to conduct the search, as it was outside of the ski area boundary.
2 Sheriff’s SAR skiers that are also Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol started the search. Bridger Bowl employees took snowmobiles to boundary and assisted with tracking down leads from the Ski Patrol Office. During the search it was discovered the missing skiers had been able to send a text message to a friend in Bozeman, letting them know that they were stuck in the bottom of Wolverine Bowl and to send ski patrol.
Searchers had a difficult time tracking the skiers because of the gusty winds that were covering the skier’s tracks. Summit Air Ambulance was requested to aid in the search of the skiers. Shortly after arriving on scene at about 9:00 p.m. Summit Air was able to locate the missing skiers and guide Rescuers to their location. High winds and snow prohibited Summit Air from attempting a landing.
Rescuers were able to render the skiers aid with food and water, and guided them off the mountain. The skiers and Rescuers were picked up by Gallatin County Deputies at the entrance to Bohart Ranch, near Bridger Bowl. Both skiers were found in good health and did not require medical attention. The skiers were not properly equipped for skiing that far out of bounds. The quick reaction of their friends reporting them as missing assisted in the dispatching of needed resources and locating of the skiers.
Sheriff Gootkin reminds backcountry users that the areas out of bounds near Bridger Bowl often are very difficult to navigate. He says to always;
Know the terrain
Know your limitations, and take a partner.