Un-Missing overdue snowmobilers

Two Vanderhoof snowmobilers spend the night outside braving the weather after making a wrong turn.

  • Jan. 19, 2015 7:00 a.m.

Byron Riopel and Troy Stringer (owner of Giver A Yank Towing in Vanderhoof) were feared missing Friday after not returning Thursday night from Powder King Mountain Resort in Pine Pass. They failed to check in with their wives after spending the day snowmobiling during a high-risk time for avalanches.

Out on the trails the two men were faced with a decision to go left or right and mistakenly choose left. They dropped into a chute where there was no going back up. They kept their eye on the sun to find direction but it was snowing and nightfall came all to quickly, said Mr. Stringer.

“This is when the sad reality set in..we are staying the night,” Mr. Stringer said in an online post.

The two found a large dead tree about 24 feet by 20 feet long.

“I jokingly gave it a shove and ‘crack’. We looked at each other and gave it another shove and ‘boom’ firewood,” Mr. Stringer said.

It took them about three hours to build camp around the tree’s stump and by the time they were done they were both soaked. They crawled into the den they made for warmth but since the wind was strong it pushed smoke down making it hard for them to breath. “But we were warm,” Mr. Stringer said. “Sometime during the night the wind and snow let up so thanks again for all the prayers,”

The two woke early and left camp at about 8:30 am. They tried heading to the trail out but no one had been down it yet.

“It was impossible, and believe me we tried,” Mr. Stringer said.

At about 1pm the two figured they would start building their camp early this time and that’s when they heard the whoop whoop of the helicopters coming to rescue them.

“Let me tell you, I really felt the love….I just about cried,” Mr. Stringer said.

The two were not severally harmed in the process and have since been reunited with their families.