Fernie Search & Rescue were called at around 5pm on Tuesday 22 December to rescue two sledders who were stuck near the Notch, South of Fernie.
The two men, one from Elkford and one from Saskatchewan, had spent the day snowmobiling around the Pipeline area but snow conditions deteriorated sharply during the day, with high winds and rapidly warming temperatures. The snow machines repeatedly had to be dug out and eventually the men became exhausted and called for help.
The group were well-prepared for an emergency and were able to call rescue crews and give them an exact GPS location.
Fernie SAR performed an avalanche hazard assessment and decided to undertake a land-based rescue, as nothing could be done via air during the hours of darkness.
Fernie SAR contacted the Fernie Snowmobile Association (FSA) to seek assistance from experienced riders and the FSA was quick to contribute four of its members who teamed up with two guides from Elk Valley Snow Shepherds and a Fernie SAR Avalanche Technician to lead a group out to the party.
The group encountered very challenging conditions but were eventually able to reach the duo around 10:30 p.m. and dig out their machines and lead them back to the Wranglers Cabin, where they were warmed up before heading back to Fernie.
Fernie SAR would like to thank the FSA for their support, as well as Avalanche Canada for the loan oftheir service snowmobiles.