GPS Tracking Helps Rescue Skiers Lost on Slope

14 Jan 2014

Stranded skiers get rescued by search and rescue, thanks to GPS tracking.

Everywhere you look, global positioning systems (GPS) and their advanced tracking abilities are being used for good. Most recently, it is to help a large group of skiers that became lost overnight in the backcountry area of West Kootenays, BC.

The rescue happened overnight when eight children and two adults were skiing outside their resort in the British Columbia resort of Red Mountain Resort and became lost. The group was on vacation, traveling from Washington, U.S. They were staying at one of the Red Mountain Resort properties located near Rossland and got out of bounds of the normal skiing area.When skiing in unfamiliar territory, it is incredibly easy to get out of bounds. Even the smallest mistake and anyone can get lost, which is exactly what happened to this group, according to Dave Johnson, Rossland RCMP spokesman.

At the time of rescue, which was early the next morning, all eight children and two fathers were not injured and back to their resort safely. They were rescued by helicopter, which helped find them using GPS tracking technology. While the individual skiers did not have GPS trackers on them, the same technology was used by the resort to locate the potential paths they may have taken. This is how the helicopter found them on the mountain.

According to Johnson, most experienced skiers who go into the backwoods would have their own personal GPS tracking device on them. This is how they prepare, because if they get lost, they can simply follow the GPS tracking unit back to where they started from, allowing them to backtrack. Cell phones rarely work in these areas, which is why they are urged to have separate GPS tracking devices.

These devices work with satellite communicators, and still work in difficult signal areas.

It works by sending or receiving alert text messages after getting out of bounds. Not only can skiers trace their steps back to a safe location, but they can inform emergency personnel of their location and that they are lost, providing them with GPS tracking capabilities to get rescued.

Another rescue involving skiers getting rescued with GPS technology was near Hope Creek, when they used an SOS signal after getting lost. They had a personal GPS satellite device that they were able to use to alert authorities that they had become lost on the mountain. In a matter of hours, a rescue team got to the group of four and had them back safely. In this case, the skiers had knee and leg injuries, which could have escalated if they didn’t use GPS technology.

As far as the family of 10 who were rescued, they got home safely and without any injuries. By all accounts, all that were rescued are surely thankful that GPS tracking technology, such as offered by LiveViewGPS, exists.

What’s the lesson in this? If you are a skier who likes to ski in the backwoods, even if you are very experienced, be sure to keep yourself safe with a personal GPS tracking device.

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