Snowmobilers rescued on Rabbit Ears

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The Routt County Sheriff's Office and Routt County Search and Rescue responded to two snowmobile incidents on Rabbit Ears Pass.

On Monday morning, Search and Rescue members retrieved a 44-year-old woman and her 13-year-old daughter, who were injured when they hit a tree while snowmobiling with Steamboat Snowmobile Tours, Sheriff Lt. Richard Wood said. The two, who are from Plano, Texas, were taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center with moderate injuries.

Another mission was called out Saturday evening for a lost snowmobiler in the Dumont Lake area. The 42-year-old Windsor man was reported lost at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday and found at about midnight, Wood said. The man, whose snowmobile was stuck in a drainage ditch, was not injured.

At about 10 a.m. Monday, Search and Rescue was called out to Rabbit Ears Pass after Carol Moss, the 44-year-old mother, hit a tree with her snowmobile. The daughter, Lauren Moss, was riding on the back of the snowmobile.

The mother suffered from back and lower abdominal pain, and the daughter, who was cushioned by the mother, suffered from lower leg pain, Wood said. The daughter was treated and released from Yampa Valley Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Christine McKelvie said. The mother was still being treated and her condition was unknown as of Monday afternoon.

Search and Rescue member Scott Havener said five members responded to the accident and that three more were on call. The rescue took about three hours.

On snowmobile, the members followed an ambulance crew to the scene, which was about five miles from the headquarters of Steamboat Snowmobile Tours. The daughter rode back to the ambulance on a snowmobile, and the mother was taken out by sled. The snowmobiles were on mostly groomed trails.

On Saturday night, Search and Rescue was called out to find Paul Suman, 42. Suman's snowmobile got stuck in a drainage ditch late Saturday afternoon. When found later that night, Suman was not injured, but his leg was wet from stepping into a creek bed.

Suman and a friend had stopped near Dumont Lake on Saturday afternoon to take a quick ride on their snowmobiles. The two had separated early on in the ride and when the friend returned to the parking area at about 5:20 p.m., Suman had not returned, Havener said.

Search and Rescue was called out shortly after the man reported his friend missing. The search did not begin until after 7 p.m., once it was determined that Suman was not going to find his way out on his own.

Havener said the group decided to search for Suman at night because he was not dressed for the weather, with wind speeds of about 10 mph to 15 mph.

Eight Search and Rescue members responded to the call, and seven snowmobiles were used for the search. The rescuers, searching by the snowmobiles' headlights, took Suman's friend to help direct the team in the direction Suman was last seen.

The man had some difficulty in giving directions because of the darkness, but Havener said the group was able to follow the tracks Suman's older snowmobile made.

At about midnight, the search members found tracks that led up into a drainage area and spotted a fire that Suman had built. He was found in the Hogan Park area.

Suman had some survival gear on him and a lighter to start a fire. When Search and Rescue members came across him, his leg and foot were still wet from stepping into the drainage ditch, Havener said.

Suman was examined and did not need to go to the hospital. Search and Rescue members retrieved his snowmobile Sunday.

Havener said snowmobilers should remember that creeks on Rabbit Ears Pass are still uncovered by snow and should be avoided.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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