Reported by Sean Hitrec
Jack Stevenson, a first year kinesiology student at Langara, doesn’t mind snowboarding off of the groomed path in search of excitement, despite the safety warnings.
Stevenson isn’t alone. Every snow season, people on the North Shore mountains go off trail in search of excitement and fresh powder. Not everyone has been as lucky as Stevenson, and even he has had his share of close calls. On one boarding trip, Stevenson fell into a tree well, a pocket at the bottom of a tree where the snow hasn’t fallen.
Some still go out of bounds, despite the dangers
“It’s a little disconcerting. It’s pretty scary, but there is usually always a friend around,” Stevenson said. “There’s definitely a feeling of helplessness though.”.
Despite this, he still goes out of bounds sometimes when snowboarding.
“It wasn’t enough to totally scare me off, I guess,” Stevenson said.
Going off trail has too many risks
Mike Danks, team leader of the volunteer run operation, North Shore Rescue, said that the risk is not worth it.
“I think the big draw for people is fresh, untracked powder and, just on the other side of the boundary line, it’s this pure clean snow and they think, oh, I’ll just zip out there and do a quick run and I’ll get back in bounds really easily,” Danks said. “Unfortunately, on all three of the local mountains, that’s not the case.”
Danks said the terrain out of bounds is unpatrolled, at risk of avalanche and full of “terrain traps.”
Danks referred to a story about a snowboarder who was lost out of bounds for days.
Some realize that staying on the trails is a better option
“We had a very high profile out of bounds snowboarder, named Sebastien Boucher, he was lost for three days during a very severe winter storm. He was incredibly lucky to have survived,” Danks said.
Bradley Wing, first year computer science student, said that he never goes out of bounds.
“I hear what happens in the news if you go out of bounds and I don’t want that to happen to me or my family,” Wing said.