Lost boarder to donate $300 to rescuers
BRECKENRIDGE – John Ryan, a snowboarder who spent three nights lost near Keystone Resort in November, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to violating the Colorado Ski Safety Act. A charge against Ryan for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit was dropped.The 31-year-old Erie man left the ski area’s boundary on the afternoon of Nov. 16, 2005, for trees near the Spring Dipper trail on the front side of the mountain. He became lost and spent the following three nights without water in Jones Gulch before ski patrollers and search-and-rescue volunteers found him.
“I didn’t see the signs on the trees, but I didn’t look either,” Ryan said following his court hearing.After pleading guilty to the charge, Ryan told Summit County Judge Ed Casias that the area he boarded into was not roped off. He said he would have never planned to snowboard out of bounds and risk losing his season pass, or worse.Casias told Ryan he was glad he was safe before sentencing him to pay $21 in court costs, in addition to making a $300 donation to the Summit Rescue Group, which participated in the search for Ryan.
The district attorney dropped the weapons charge because Ryan had the proper permit for the gun he carried at Keystone; he just didn’t have it with him at the time, Ryan said. He declined to comment on why he was snowboarding with a gun.Ryan was hospitalized with severely frostbitten feet following his ordeal and had one toe amputated, he said.After the rescue, speculation surfaced around Summit County about whether or not Ryan was actually outside for three nights, Summit Rescue Group public information officer Mike Schmitt said in late-November.
Ryan said he heard about people second-guessing his story, and read an opinion in one newspaper that said because the incident occurred early in the season, he should have been able to easily get out of the woods. But Ryan was quick to dismiss those claims Wednesday, saying he didn’t have any water and the snow was chest deep. “There’s always somebody who thinks the worst, (somebody) who thinks there’s some kind of scam … I don’t really care. I know what happened, my loved ones know what happened,” Ryan said.Vail, Colorado