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Ski Experts Warn Of Backcountry Dangers

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NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) – There’s plenty of snow up in the Sierra, and skiers say it’s the perfect ski conditions. But after two skiers got stranded last night, it’s a reminder or the dangers of skiing on backcountry trails.

“It’s the best conditions all year!” said a skier.

The nearly eight feet of fresh snow came down recently, enough to have skiers “hungry” for the new snow licking their chops.

“I had to take a day off of work just to come up,” said another skier.

But a day at Sugar Bowl Mountain almost turned tragic for two expert skiers stranded overnight in the snow after, deputies say, they were caught in the brutal storm, accidently skied out of bounds and got lost.

“Regardless of new storms, new snow, little snow, no storms, when you head out in the back country you always have to be safe,” said Sugar Bowl Resort spokesman John Monson.

Cell phone pings led rescuers to the men who hiked out to safety. They were cold and hungry, but luckily not injured.

Some of the skiers we talked to today told us it’s usually the less-seasoned skiers who get in trouble off trail.

“People that are never on the mountain just don’t have as much experience, lack of wisdom to stay away from some of the stuff, but that’s not always the case, sometimes, you just get caught and that’s bad luck,” said Joshua Smith, an experienced skier.

But Monson says everyone — including expert skiers — need to keep safety in mind.

“Get yourself signed up for a class, get your level one avalanche certification take an educational seminar on the science of snow, not only is it a safety think, but it’s fun,” said Monson.

And one other reminder from the sheriff’s department: If you are going to go off trail, bring a partner and also make sure you tell someone else where you are going. It could safe your life.

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