General area where we were lost.

Recently, I had a life changing and dramatic experience.  I had gone snowboarding with my two nephews, ages 16 and 18, to Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, California.  It was a windy day after a mild storm and we arrived about mid-day.  Upon reaching the top of the gondola, we were informed that one of the major express lifts was closed due to windy conditions atop the mountain.  Heavenly is split between the Nevada and California border, and we decided to ride on the Nevada side of the mountain to ride down with the westward blowing wind.

We continued to snowboard, through the trees and freshest powder, but as the day wore on, more lifts were being closed because the wind was too harsh toward the top of the summit.  Soon, we found ourselves on the edge of the mountain using one of the last remaining open lifts, the Stagecoach.  At about 2:30, my nephews and I decided that this our last run, and that we’d be heading home.  This run was just not worth it, there were too many people and the snow was so compacted, it resembled ice more so than snow.

During our lift to the top, my nephews and I got in an argument about who was fastest, so we decided to race through the trees to the lift.  When we got to the top, we headed right into ‘Scorpion Woods,’ heading straight into the trees and the forest.  Eventually, we got to a bit of a clearing where we started running into fresh powder.  At first, we thought we were lucky and found a ‘hidden gem,’ but it was too large of an area and I began to think we had gone out-of-bounds.

At the time, I was leading the pack so I stopped to consult with my nephews and make a decision.  I asked if they had seen a rope or the boundary, they said they hadn’t.  We decided to snowboard downward, and left, where’d we had last seen a trail, but the snow was deep and we had to board down the slope to gain traction.  Soon, we ran into another snowboarders tracks and we decided to follow them down going down a chute.  We couldn’t ride to our left toward the ski runs, so we decided to ride the chute as long as we could.  Finally, we ended up in at the bottom of a canyon facing some snow-covered tracks.  It looked like the other snowboarder un-strapped here and started hiking so we decided to follow his tracks, maybe they led back to the ski village.

After following his tracks for about an hour and a half in deep snow, we noticed a chimney atop a hill across a clearing from a ridge we were standing on.  We crossed the clearing as quietly as we could fearing an avalanche.  When we got across the clearing, we started climbing the hill, but it turned out to be much steeper than we’d realized, so we decided to board down the hill and try to find the snowboarder’s tracks again.

When we finally found his tracks, they led us to a two snowmobile wide track.  We were immediately relieved, the track looked like it had been used recently, and was fairly flat.  We followed this track for about another hour until it started going uphill.  We were standing on a ridge where the track turned into a V-shape.  There were two canyons flanking us on each side, and across the horizon we could see a highway far to right and then to the left through the trees.