Search and rescue highlights Mt. Ashland back country risks

MT. ASHLAND, Ore.– Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue along with Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol were called into action this weekend after a snowboarder from Bend was reported missing. While the man was found, uninjured, the ski area is now warning people about the risks they may take if they choose to go beyond the borders.

According to mountain officials, those who cross the boundaries of the ski area wishing to do some back country skiing or snowboarding – are on their own.

It’s a risk some like to take but enthusiasts of the back country should always be careful according to Hiram Towle, general manager of Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

“When you leave our boundaries we don’t do anything in terms of avalanche control or marking trails or patrolling those areas,” he said. “So when you ask the question, ‘What do we do to keep people safe there?’ It’s a personal responsibility.'”

While the ski area does everything it can to protect customers, areas past the boundaries are left mostly untamed.

But for those still wishing to do some back country, Towle says there are a few rules to follow.

“Certainly being out in the back country all alone is just not a good way to go,” he said. “Second thing is to always have a plan. You have to know where you’re going, make sure someone else knows where you’re going, what time you think you will be done.”

Officials say signs are posted everywhere defining the boundaries of the ski area, however people still choose to go past.

Meanwhile, the ski area will be open for the full week of spring break and is offering discount tickets for whole families to come and have fun in the snow.

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