By Curt Peterson
Early in the evening on Jan. 30, Raymond Park, 49, of Killington, was snowboarding on the backside of the Killington Ski Area, out of bounds, and spent several subsequent hours trying unsuccessfully to return to the trail he had left.
He was found by rescuers at 8 a.m. Jan 31, five hours after he texted a friend his GPS location at 3 a.m.
It was a tough night to be lost in the woods.
“Temperatures overnight were approximately -13 degrees,” according to Vermont State Police trooper Charles Gardner’s report of the incident.
At 3 a.m., according to Gardner, Park’s mobile phone had barely enough power to send his GPS location to a friend. It’s safe to assume he was seeking help.
When he was found, State Police Information Officer Adam Silverman told the Mountain Times, “Mr. Park did not require any medical attention.”
Park had been snowboarding at Killington before going out of bounds.
Killington Search & Rescue (KSAR) and VSP Search and Rescue cooperated in the search.
“Killington Resort Ski Patrol offered to assist in the search if VSP needed additional resources,” Silverman said, “but we did not need their assistance.”
The VSP website says their search and rescue team “partners with many volunteer search and rescue teams, local first responders, ski patrols, local law enforcement and others … There are many incidents each year.”
Asked if there was any indication whether Park had left the in-bounds trail accidentally or on purpose, Silverman said, “The boundary of the ski area is marked by a large rope, so anyone skiing out of bounds would have to cross that rope line.”
“Skiers and riders are reminded to always stay within the ski area boundaries, let someone know where they are going, and, if venturing off into the back country, be prepared to spend the night in the woods,” Gardner wrote.
Park did not respond to the Mountain Times’ attempts to elicit his account of the misadventure.
“Skiers and riders are reminded to always stay within the ski area boundaries, let someone know where they are going and if venturing off into the back country, be prepared to spend the night in the woods,” Gardner said.