4 Cited After Search and Rescue Near Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Four people, including two Wyoming residents, have been issued criminal citations for skiing outside of a ski area boundary earlier this year, leading to two of them becoming lost and ultimately being retrieved by a search and rescue team.
Two citations -- for violation of an emergency boundary closure and disorderly conduct with creation of a hazardous condition -- were issued to 24-year-old Andrew Richards and 28-year-old Ruth Schwietert, both of Jackson, Wyoming.
Identical citations were given to 23-year-old Natalie Burns of Breckenridge, Colorado and 25-year-old Joseph Higgins of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
They could each face up to a year in jail and $10,000 in fines for the crimes, according to a statement from Grand Teton National Park spokesperson Denise Germann. The citations require each defendant to appear in court.
Two of the people cited had to be rescued from Granite Canyon in the early morning hours of Friday, March 1, after the group skied outside of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundaries the afternoon prior.
It had been the last run of the day for the group of four, but after they skied beneath a boundary rope and into an area which had been closed due to hazardous conditions, two of them got lost.
The lost pair used cell phones to contact a friend, who in turn contacted the area ski patrol as well as park dispatch. A Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter conducted aerial reconnaissance, but had trouble confirming the location of the lost skiers due to the setting sun.
Three rangers were taken to the top of the Teton Chairlift and began a ground search, skiing into Granite Canyon. Despite high avalanche danger in the area as well as rugged terrain, the rangers used ropes and belay systems to move down the canyon.
Those rangers found the lost pair at roughly 11 p.m. in the Spock Chutes area. They lost skier and snowboarder were not injured.
The group climbed back up the mountain to the ski area boundary and skied to the base of the resort by 2:45 a.m.