Woman rescued after crashing snowmobile on Rabbit Ears Pass

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— Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers worked in harsh conditions to evacuate a woman who had been injured after crashing her snowmobile Monday afternoon.

The crash occurred on Rabbit Ears Pass on a snowmobile trail about 1.5 miles from Dumont Lake. Search and Rescue’s Kristia Check-Hill said the 52-year-old woman was hurt after her snowmobile hit a tree that had fallen onto the trail and was hidden under snow. The woman was with her husband and another couple from the Silverthorne area.

Check-Hill said the snowmobile trail usually is well marked, but the orange trail markers were covered because of the snow and strong winds.

“It was almost blowing me over,” Check-Hill said. “You could not be out without your goggles on.”

Fortunately, it was not cold, Check-Hill said.

Search and Rescue volunteers were told about the crash at about 2:45 p.m. The injured woman’s husband had cellphone service and was able to call for help. He also was able to provide GPS coordinates, which allowed rescuers to know exactly where the group was located.

The crash technically occurred in Grand County, but Search and Rescue volunteers from Routt County responded because they were able to respond more quickly, Check-Hill said.

Check-Hill went on the mission with volunteers Delbert Bostock and Jason Weber in addition to a rescuer from Grand County. They rode in using snowmobiles and found that after hitting the tree, the woman was launched forward into the sled’s handlebars and windshield. She said she had pain in the lower abdomen.

Check-Hill said the woman was a trooper, but she was in no condition to sit on a snowmobile and be ridden out.

“She was in pain, but she didn’t complain,” Check-Hill said.

Rescuers put a vacuum splint on the woman to move her and loaded her onto a trailer towed behind a snowmobile. A Grand County ambulance then took her to Yampa Valley Medical Center.

The rescue mission ended at about 6 p.m.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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Comments

Joey Bowman 3 months ago

Nice work search and rescue. Thanks for all you do!

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Mark Ruckman 3 months ago

Thanks S&R

I wonder if the conditions were that bad why was the group taking the risk and riding?

Why not go to alternate locations at lower elevations with better conditions?

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Brian Kotowski 3 months ago

For the same reason people choose to base jump. Or climb K2. Or kayak class V white water. Or, the snowmobilers might have misjudged the conditions. It's called life. Deal with it.

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Mark Ruckman 3 months ago

Brian, if the conditions are so bad you can't see the trail markers and the wind is almost blowing you off a sled then you turn around and call it day. I did this a couple of weeks ago as conditions worsened in the same area.

What they did was endangering the life of others (S&R) for their bad choices. If they rescued themselves then your "deal with it" comment would be appropriate.

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Brian Kotowski 3 months ago

Right. Because in your world, mistakes are never made, everyone's judgement is always flawless and accidents never happen. I couldn't be happier for you.

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Mark Ruckman 3 months ago

Brian hitting the tree was an accident, just as I hit a rock the other day in a meadow.

Are you friends with these people? You appear to be wound up over a simple question about why the group decided to go PLAY in a whiteout.

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Mark Ruckman 3 months ago

"You appear to be wound up" - that is how your reaction to simple questions "appeared" to me.

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Brian Kotowski 3 months ago

Just can't let it go, can you? Cheer up, Mark. It looks like a beautiful day.

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Bret Marx 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Couldn't ask for a better group to save you than Kristia, Del and Jason. Way to go S&R! Hope they never have to come find me. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated and hard working crew as the Routt County Search and Rescue.

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