Four call for help after going out of bounds at Heavenly

A Stateline man who used a cell phone to call for help after he was stuck in deep snow out of bounds was one of four people rescued at Heavenly Valley Ski Resort during this week's storm.

Nicholas Gorman, 27, was snowboarding at Heavenly near the Olympic run when he called 911 to say he was stuck in deep snow and that he could not get out.

Rescuers from Douglas County Sheriff's Search & Rescue and Tahoe Douglas Fire District found Gorman at about 4:27 p.m., but due to the remote location, were not able to get him out.

A rescue helicopter from Fallon Naval Air Station extricated Gorman at about 5:55 p.m. and took him to Barton Memorial Hospital for treatment for cold injuries.

While they were looking for Gorman, searchers received a call that two more skiers were stuck in the snow below Heavenly.

Denver residents Matthew Chiesa, 22, and Bernadette Leary, 20, called 911 from a cell phone at about 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

Chiesa told rescuers he could see the Horizon Casino from where he was.

The couple was found at 7:55 p.m. on the hillside behind Park Cattle Co. homestead. Both were treated for severe cold distress.

On Tuesday, a snow biker called Heavenly Valley Ski Patrol on his cell phone to report that he was lost and stuck in deep snow out of bounds.

After three hours in a severe snow storm, and despite low visibility and high avalanche danger, searchers located Mike McKinney near Edgewood Creek, off the southern edge of Kingsbury Grade.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jim Halsey pointed out that it is a misdemeanor offense for any person who has used a ski lift or surface lift of a ski area/resort to ski outside of the resort boundaries, or ski under a manmade barrier designed to prohibit a skier from entering a closed portion of the ski area.

Halsey said offenders may also be held liable for restitution to private or public entities providing service toward their rescue efforts.


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