Monday, December 9, 2013


This snowfall has really made me want to get back to Brundage to get some snowboarding in!  
We took my board and HH's skiis to Covey's Bike Shop this weekend to get them all tuned up and waxed!  

I was reading a story about a couple in my area that went hunting and ended up lost.  How scary, cold and dark.  Has this ever happened to you?

It has to me.

Here's my story.

The year was probably 1998ish, and we were in McCall, our usual winter hangout.  My brother, mom, dad and I were up on the mountain skiing and snowboarding. Business as usual.  The plan was always to meet at the lodge around 3:30pm to head back to the condo.

Around 2:30 my brother and I decided to be a little rebellious and snowboard out of bounds.  We knew the mountain like the back of our hands, so we weren't too worried about it.  Honestly we weren't worried at all.  We knew the run "Temptation" (hmm interesting name) hooked a right at the end and takes you right to the lift, so we went for it, knowing we would cut back across a little ways down.  Oh, and I need to mention this: the powder out of bounds was FAB.U.LOUS. seriously the best snowboarding ever. What's the worst that could happen? (as my Mom would say)

We realized we were a tad off course when we got to an old logging road.  My brother turned to me and said, "I think we should get off our boards and start walking this way, because its now 3:30 and Mom and Dad are going to start to wonder where we are."  Wait. 3:30???? You mean we've been snowboarding for AN HOUR!?!?!  Yikes.  But then he said, "Either that, or we could just keep going and end up on the main road and hitch a ride back to the lodge. I don't care. You decide."

"Oh gee thanks Zach, leave it up to me, so if we end up lost, you can blame me"

"Yep.  Pretty much"

This was not the exact conversation, but extremely close.  So "I" decided to keep snowboarding for a couple reasons.
1. Taking the board off and walking through deep snow didn't sound like fun at all.
2. Snowboarding in powder is a ton of fun.

I think when we crossed a creek we realized our plans weren't going as imagined.  Literally crossed a creek of running water in my snowboard boots.  Oh and by this time, we had probably taken off our boards 3 or 4 times trying to navigate this mountain.

By this time, we knew Mom and Dad were freakin.  It had to of been 4pm by that time, and the mountain was either closed or just about to.  So our new plan was to hike up the tallest mountain to use my brother's Nokia.  (ya know the ones that had Snake on it)

So thats what we did.  We hiked.  And hiked.  In, no joke, over 8 ft of deep powder.  So picture this:  my brother in front of me, pushing his board in front of him, taking one step, having to pull his whole leg out of that step, repeat.  Me then behind him, pushing my board in front of me, trying to use his same holes to put my legs into.  This caused great groin pain and soaking wet pants and gloves.

We finally reached the top and my brother had service!  So we called the mountain and of course my parents had already called the search team and reported us missing.  Well, usually when we go out of bounds, we are on the Hidden Valley side of the mountain, and this time we were completely opposite of that spot.  So the initial search and rescue team was on the wrong side.  When we called we told them where we were and they sent out one rescue team member out to follow our tracks.

At that point, we decided to hike back down the mountain and up another mountain to sit and wait.  Why?  Because we thought that the logging road we saw up ahead was how they were going to find us with their CAT machine.

So we sat and waited. We sang songs, we talked about what ifs, like, what if we have to spend the night.  My brother said he'd build us a fort, but didn't seem too worried, so I wasn't.  Oh, and besides playing snake on his phone, he actually started calling friends.  "Oh hey!  I'm stranded on the side of a mountain with my sister and the sun's about to go down!  Cool huh?!?!"

I wasn't that worried because of how non worried my brother was.  I honestly felt safe with him.  Strange because now and after we were rescued I realized how scared I should have been.  Well, actually I did start to get scared when the sun was setting because no one had found us yet.

And then we saw this young skiier.  Our rescuer, our hero. He was wearing a fanny pack, which was SUPPOSED to have all sorts of snacks and goodies for us, but all that was left was a few M&Ms. He did give me a pair of extra gloves which was amazing.   He also said this: "Well, that was the best skiing of my life."  I know right?!?!?!

He followed our tracks all the way to us.  Crossed the stream, hiked up and down mountains, skied some more, hiked again.  Now the time was about 7pm.  He said we needed to actually hike BACK DOWN the mountain and up to the logging road we already crossed because the one we were on was so old that big trees had grown and the CAT would not be able to use it.  So we did that and about an hour later the CAT machine met us.  The ride was awesome, but can you believe it took us another hour to get back to the lodge?

I will say I was very happy to see them.  They, on the other hand, were not happy.  They realized that we had been season pass holders since I was probably 3.  And we should have known better.  And that they probably should start charging for rescues.  Honestly, if they would have told my parents it'll be $500 to rescue us, I know they would have paid :)

So now, there is a charge AND there is a bright yellow sign stuck in the ground right where we headed off track.

I don't think I've ever scared my parents that bad.  They were so frantic when we saw them finally at 10pm.  I felt terrible for making them worry so badly, especially over something we could have done differently.  I will say that my groin muscles were completely pulled and I couldn't really do much for the next two or three days.  I was exhausted.  We went back to the mountain a couple days later to give the rescue team a couple fruit baskets, but they were still not happy with us.  I would think they would like the adventure! I know we did.