4 lost snowboarders spend night in woods at Maine resort
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (AP) – Four teenagers who got lost while snowboarding at the Sugarloaf Mountain ski resort spent a cold night in dense woods and deep snow, but were found alive and well Monday.
A group of three snowboarders, plus a fourth one who was on his own, went out of bounds late Sunday afternoon in an area known as the snowfields, a large section of ungroomed expert terrain on the backside of the mountain.
The Sugarloaf ski patrol and the Maine Warden Service searched late into the night Sunday, communicating with the lost snowboarders by cell phone and text messages and coming within shouting distance. But the search was hampered by high winds, steep terrain, thick spruce woodlands and the more than 5 feet of snow that had fallen since Wednesday. The temperature fell to 22 degrees.
Around midnight, searchers decided the conditions were too dangerous to continue. So they told the group of three snowboarders by cell phone th at they were suspending the search and would resume early in the morning, said Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin.
“They told them to hunker down, dig themselves into the snow, line it with pine boughs and just huddle together to stay warm through the night,” Austin said.
The search resumed at 5 a.m. Monday. Wardens found the solo boarder, 18-year-old Luke Poisson, of Lewiston, four hours later after hearing his shouts and determining his position using a compass, said warden service spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte. Poisson was brought to the bottom of the mountain but didn’t require hospitalization, she said.
Three others – 18-year-old Cory Koop of North Pole, Alaska; 19-year-old Machali Belluscio of Keene, N.H.; and 15-year-old Aaron Nadeau of New Portland – were located a short time later. They were making their way down the mountain Monday afternoon.
Koop and Belluscio are students at the University of Maine at Farmington, Turcotte said.
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