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Rescuers find missing Utah snowboarder

The 38-year-old waved down a search and rescue helicopter after getting lost in a storm and surviving a night exposed to the elements


SNOWBASIN, Utah — Terence Hulsman stepped off the helicopter and was able to walk over to the ambulance, supported by his wife, after surviving a night exposed to the elements in the Snowbasin backcountry. 

Weber County search and rescue crews found the 38-year-old snowboarder who had lost his way during a snowstorm and was reported missing Sunday afternoon.

Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther said Hulsman was found alive Monday morning after he waved down the helicopter that was scanning the area for him. He was located in the Burch Creek area on the west side of the mountain. 

Rescue crews couldn't land the helicopter in the clearing where Hulsman had sheltered for the night and instead landed higher up on the mountain and walked to him with snowshoes. Crews had to be extra careful because the area was a dangerous avalanche zone.

They took him back to the helicopter and flew him to the staging area on Trappers Loop Road where medical personnel and his family were waiting. He was off the mountain by 10 a.m.

He was assessed in stable condition, but was transported to the hospital as a precaution, Lowther said.

The North Salt Lake man was snowboarding with a friend Sunday around noontime, down the Strawberry Run, when a blizzard created white-out conditions. The friend made it down the run, but Hulsman got separated and did not make it back. 

Lowther said the man got lost and kept hiking to find help, however visibility kept decreasing as the storm went on.

"It was five feet (of visibility), then four feet, then when it was three feet I decided to dig down for the night. Just had to be patient," Hulsman said.

Snowbasin Ski Patrol began searching for the man, but conditions made it difficult, Lowther said. Search and rescue crews were called in at about 5 p.m. They searched the area for the missing snowboarder until 11 p.m. A crew of 25 people on snowmobiles and snowshoes was deployed to comb the area in which he was last spotted.

"He was dressed for a day of snowboarding, not prepared to spend a night in the backcountry," Lowther said. Temperatures dipped to 12 degrees overnight with wind gusts reaching 45 mph.

The search resumed early in the morning with the use of a helicopter from the Utah Department of Public Safety. 

The father of two said he was determined to survive and make it back.

"I got a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old with a mama, I just had to do it," he said.

The friend Hulsman was snowboarding with slapped his back as they made their way to the ambulance and shouted, "He's a survivor, man!"

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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