The Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) team was called to their first rescue of the winter season on Friday (Jan. 7), which was quickly followed by another rescue on Sunday (Jan. 9).
SAR was called in the late afternoon Friday for a snowmobile rider that hit a tree in the Rolling Hills area, according to a Facebook post from the Fernie SAR. No helicopter support was available due to weather and the time of day.
“Fernie SAR members and convergents from the Fernie snowmobile club were able to locate the subject on sleds and use the club’s grooming cat to bring the subject to the valley bottom and hand over to an awaiting ambulance around 23:00.”
“Once again people on scene having a satellite locating beacon was the only reason they did not spend an extremely uncomfortable night on the mountain. Good to see so many sledding groups carrying the necessary equipment,” the Facebook post reads.
“There is very little cellphone network away from the valley floor,” said Fernie SAR head Simon Piney, also highlighting the importance of backcountry recreationists having “some form of satellite communication device to call for help.”
The SAR post thanked the Fernie Snowmobile Association and Fernie Wilderness Adventures for their support in the rescue. The former provided a cat for the rescue, and the latter allowed the SAR team to use their cabin and parking lot for staging the rescue.
A second rescue took place on Jan. 9, when Fernie SAR was called for an injured snowmobile rider in the Morrissey area, another Facebook post reads.
“Two Fernie SAR Technicians responded via helicopter to stabilise the injuries and deliver the subject to (British Columbia Ambulance Service) in Fernie.”