Maine ski resort to charge for backcountry rescues

Sugarloaf Mountain, a popular ski resort located in Maine, has had enough of skiers and snowboarders going out of bounds and then requiring a rescue. In fact, they’re so fed up, that following two recent incidences, they have decided to charge the snowboarders who were rescued for the expenses incurred during the operation.

The two incidences in question took place on Friday, February 26th and the following Monday, March 1st. In both cases, snowboarders elected to ignore warning signs and fence lines, to leave Sugarloaf property and move onto privately held lands. When they became lost, search parties needed to be organized, with volunteer firefighters and Sugarloaf search and rescue teams going into action.

The first rescue involved five snowboarders, and cost a total of $2300 spread out between the local fire department and the resort. At $460 each, these boarders are getting off on the cheap side however, as the second rescue operation required the extraction of four out-of-bounds offenders, and extended to 15 hours in length. As a result, the tab came to just over $8350 or $2087.50 each. That makes for an expensive day out on the slopes.

All told, about 500 man hours were spent on the search and rescue operations, which convinced both Sugarloaf, and the Carrabassett Valley Fire Department, that they would send the bill to the people that were rescued. They argued that the snowboarders made a conscious choice to go out of bounds, and as a result, they would have to be held responsible for their own actions. Perhaps a big fat bill in the mail will help convince them to stay on the proper slopes next time.