B.C. skier found safe and healthy after 2 days lost in backcountry
Mark Gayowski was found by search and rescue teams at Red Mountain on New Year's Day
A skier who went missing in B.C.'s rugged Monashee Mountains on Monday has been found "in very good health," according to rescuers.
Search and rescue teams found 34-year-old Mark Gayowski on Wednesday in the backcountry of Red Mountain Ski Resort, northwest of Trail, according to South Columbia Search and Rescue coordinator Mike Hudson.
"He was pretty exhausted but pretty happy to see us, for sure. He was feeling like a couple of times he just wanted to give up. No water. No food. He was soaking wet and had fallen into the creek a few times. It was pretty treacherous down there," said Hudson.
Despite cuts and bruises and dehydration, Gayowski was remarkably healthy, Hudson said.
"He was in pretty good spirits and smiling and happy to see everybody," he said.
Gayowski was airlifted out of the area and taken for medical treatment as a precaution. Video taken at search and rescue headquarters at the ski resort shows Gayowski walking away from the helicopter with some help from rescuers.
Hudson said Red Mountain Resort seemed to "explode" with applause and cheering when the missing skier walked out of the helicopter.
About 90 rescuers were involved in the effort to locate Gayowski after he failed to return from a solo ski trip on Monday.
Teams from across the East and West Kootenays were part of the search effort, which was hampered at times because of snow and fog. Hudson believes warmer temperatures and tree cover helped protect the missing skier.
Hudson said the ski resort donated food to feed the searchers for the entire rescue operation, and "we are so very humbled by their gesture."