VANCOUVER -- North Shore Rescue said Thursday it won’t accept any cash that Cypress Mountain hopes to collect from a snowboarder who caused a three-day search after going out of bounds.
Cypress Mountain plans to present Sebastien Boucher with an estimated $10,000 bill to cover the costs the mountain of the search, which ended Tuesday night.
“The subject and Cypress are negotiating the bill,” team leader Tim Jones said in a blog Thursday on the North Shore Rescue (NSR) website.
“We have nothing to do with it and will not, I repeat, will not receive a donation from Cypress ... NSR has a clear policy against fines or charges.”
The provincial government and rescue personnel fear imposing fines could result in people not calling authorities for help.
Other ski hills in the Vancouver area said they would continue to bill those who get lost after going out of bounds to recover search costs.
Collecting the money may be impossible, but officials said they are sending a message to those who disregard the rules.
“We have billed and would do it again,” Grouse Mountain public relations manager Sarah Lusk said. “It is a statement to those that do it (that) their bad choice costs time and money.”
However, she understood NSR’s position.
“We totally understand their concerns,” Lusk said. “But sometimes a stronger message needs to be sent to people.
“It's not just their lives they are putting on the line.”
Jamie Tattersfield, operations manager at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, B.C., admits it’s almost impossible to force people to pay the bills.
“We’ve had some success and we’ve also had no success,” he said. “It really depends on whether the individual feels like he should contribute.”
A Whistler-Blackcomb spokesman said bills are issued if equipment such as helicopters is needed to rescue uninjured people who venture out of bounds.
Meanwhile, a helicopter airlifted a man and his three sons to safety Thursday after they spent the night stranded on Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The group skied out of bounds and found themselves trapped in a steep gully.
A Revelstoke Search and Rescue helicopter located the four and dropped them survival supplies, including sleeping bags, food, a stove and tarp Wednesday.