A 21-year-old Norwegian snowboarder is lucky to be alive after being lost in Whistler’s backcountry for three nights. Julie Abrahamsen was reported missing on Friday by her roommates after she failed to return for two consecutive nights.
According to a statement by Whistler RCMP, a joint rescue operation between police, ski patrol, and search and rescue began on Friday at where Abrahamsen was last seen on Wednesday morning: investigators learned she boarded Blackcomb Mountain’s Glacier Express chairlift at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
The search continued until Friday nightfall and recommenced on Saturday morning in the backcountry with the use of multiple search teams including search dogs and a helicopter, which spotted fresh tracks in the snow soon after daybreak.
Searchers followed the tracks and at approximately 1:30 p.m., Abrahamsen was located in cold, but good, condition at Wedge Creek. She was airlifted out of the area and received medical treatment for three days of exposure.
The weather in the mountains during her disappearance was dangerous, but above seasonal temperatures brought by the ‘Pineapple Express’ subtropical storm system likely contributed to her survival.
Freezing levels at Whistler Blackcomb have been hovering at approximately 3,000 metres since Friday, an altitude far above the peaks of both mountains. During this time of year, the freezing level usually sits at 1,500 metres or lower.
Feature Image: Whistler Blackcomb