FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Officials with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office are urging skiers to follow the rules, after recieving several calls for help over the past few days.
Deputies are especially concerned, as more snowfall is expected in the area during the upcoming weekend. They say with more snow, skiers tend to go out of bounds at the Arizona Snowbowl. On Sunday, there was a really dangerous situation where a young skier not only got stuck after getting separated from his group, but also ran out of battery on his cell phone, and had to be rescued.
"It was a scary situation for them. Wasn't totally prepared to be back there for an extended period of time," said Sgt. Aaron Dick with CCSO, in a phone interview. "He had planned to leave for a short period of time and come back to the ski area, so he didn't have any equipment for what we consider safe backcountry travel."
Skiing or snowboarding outside the ski area does carry some risk, since those areas are not patrolled. Officials say if you know the risks and still want to venture out, you should carry extra food, water, warmer clothes, and a cell phone wth a back-up battery pack, along with other tools.
"Experienced skiiers and snowboarders, they'll carry a backpack, but at a minimum, an extra food and water, lamp, whistle, navigation equipment, like that." said Sgt. Dick.
Deputies also people should never go out alone, and learn about the dangers of avalanches before they go. Sgt. Dick says what many people don't realize is that once they ski or snowboard out of bounds, it's also very hard to get back on the main course. Many end up getting lost.
Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center
Avalanche Safety Tips by REI
Reducing Risks: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/avalanche-reducing-risk.html
Rescue Checklist: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/avalanche-rescue-checklist.html