Backcountry skiers save lost child
BEAVER CREEK – Brad Peterson and Brad Rettig were getting ready for their last run in the backcountry Sunday when they heard a scream.”We were at the top and we heard, all of a sudden, someone screaming for help. It sounded like someone who had broken something,” said Peterson, 25, of Vail. “We asked if he was all right and he kept yelling.”It was about 1:30 p.m. on a powder day and Peterson, Rettig, and Peterson’s cousin from Cleveland were skiing out of bounds east of Rose Bowl on the east side of Beaver Creek.”We followed the voice down and we found him in the trees. It was a straight line to where he was,” Peterson said. “We thought it was either someone who had gotten lost or had broken a leg.”
When they reached the boy, whose name was Craig and came from Texas, Peterson said he was shocked.”He was just standing there. He didn’t have gloves or a hat and his jacket was open. He said he got lost from his group,” Peterson said.The boy told them he had been skiing with his cousins on an easy run when he fell into a tree well, Peterson said.”He must have got lost while skiing on Red Buffalo and he took a right,” said Peterson, referring to a beginner’s run at the top of Beaver Creek Mountain. “He took his skis off and poles and then rolled down the hill.”
Rettig, being backcountry savvy, had an extra pair of gloves and hat in his pack, which he gave to the boy. Peterson put Craig on his back and skied him to the bottom of the Rose Bowl chairlift, where they called ski patrol.”Of all the different routes we could have taken, we were lucky enough to be in the same location where Craig had been,” said Rettig, 25, of Denver. “He would have not been found by patrol that night. He was out of bounds, an area that wouldn’t have been covered by the sweep at the end of the day.””He couldn’t climb up and to get out of there – it would have been a mile,” Peterson added. “He was at the wrong place at the right time.”Peterson said the boy’s family got in touch with him and Rettig to thank them for saving Craig’s life. “It was pretty shocking, this has never happened to me and I’ve been skiing my whole life,” Peterson said.
“We still got to enjoy the run while saving somebody’s life,” Rettig added.Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Vail, Colorado