Snowboarder To Be Charged $10K For Rescue

Vancouver — A Canadian snowboarder who went out of bounds at Cypress Mountain Ski Area will be charged over $10,000 for his Tuesday night rescue, UPI reports.

Sebastien Boucher was lost for three days after he ignored warning signs and left the boundaries of the ski area. Rescue crews spent over 48 hours looking for Boucher, an effort that was complicated by the fact that he didn’t stay in one spot.

North Shore Rescue said it doesn’t issue fines or ask for donations from the people they have saved, but Cypress Mountain’s Joffrey Koeman said an example needed to be made of Boucher.

“This is something we haven’t done in 20 years or so but we’re getting overwhelming support for saying we’re sending him a bill,” Koeman said, according to CTV. He did not say what the last incident was or how much the person was charged. Koeman also said Cypress Mountain was unable to open the sky chair for a day because crews were too busy looking for Boucher.

“So you have to factor in lost revenue as well,” he said.

It took dozens of Cypress Mountain employees, as well as some of Boucher’s friends from Quebec, in addition to North Shore Rescue to find the wayward snowboard. Boucher apologized for the headache he caused and friends said he was humiliated by the incident.

“He’s embarrassed, he kept on saying sorry to us,” Francois Paiement said. “He definitely knows he made a mistake.”

Friends also said that Boucher was grieving over the death of a good friend and was distracted while at Cypress Mountain.

North Shore Rescue team leader Tim Jones said he is advising team members not to engage in discussions about whether people should have to pay for being rescued. He said imposing fines on the rescued party can be more harmful than beneficial.

“We can’t be put in a position that we’re chasing people because they don’t want to get caught, or get found,” he said.

He did say, however, that Boucher intentionally went out of bounds and would probably do it again.

“I know people criticize, say, ‘Oh this guy’s stupid, he shouldn’t be doing that, he deserves it.’ But people don’t know,” Boucher said. “If you lose your best friend, you tell me how you feel, you tell me how you think. I shouldn’t have even been snowboarding. I should’ve just went home.”

Cypress Mountain hosted all of the freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Any money received from Boucher will be donated to North Shore Rescue for coordinating the search and rescue effort, Koeman said.

Do you think Sebastien Boucher should be charged for his rescue?