Sugarloaf Officials Reviewing Mountain's Risks | NECN

Sugarloaf Officials Reviewing Mountain's Risks



    Mass. teen's mishap in Maine marks 4th time someone has gotten lost this season (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN: Amy Sinclair) - Nicholas Joy's mishap at Sugarloaf in Maine marked the fourth time a skier, or group of skiers, has gotten lost on the mountain this season.

    Every time it happens, it forces skiers and management to reflect on the sport's hazards and what can be done to minimize risk.

    For Sugarloaf staff, it was a tense 44 hours.

    "This is the longest search and rescue we've had ever had," said Sugarloaf Spokesperson Ethan Austin.

    Joy told wardens he skied out of bounds by accident after separating from his father on the Binder trail near the summit.

    "Obviously we'll be reviewing how and where he went and where he left he boundary" said Austin.

    While the boundary is well marked, Austin says there could be a small gap in coverage that was made worse by the weather conditions Sunday afternoon.

    "Visibility was tough and the summit was in clouds that could have played into it," Austin said.

    Skiers know the sport has risks. In fact, on the back of every ticket, it says the sport is dangerous and injuries are common, but Joy's experience has skiers reviewing their own safety procedures.

    Skiers say Joy's biggest mistake was going it alone.

    "Always ski with a friend, especially if you're going out of bounds," said skier Jim Harris.

    Joy's second mistake: Not taking his cell phone.

    "Cell phones won't save you all the time but in this case we could have resolved this in a matter of hours instead of two days," Austin said.

    The goal of course is to make sure no other family has to look up at the mountain wondering where their child is, and if they're ever coming home.