North Shore Rescue wants no part of Cypress Mountain's $10,000 bill for snowboarder

The company that runs the Cypress Mountain ski resort has said it plans to issue a $10,000 bill to a snowboarder who was rescued out of bounds.

Joffrey Koeman of Cypress Mountain told CBC and CTV on Wednesday (December 19) that any money received from Sebastien Boucher, a director of finance with the National Bank of Canada, would be passed on to the North Shore Rescue Team Society for coordinating the search.

But North Shore Rescue says it won't accept any money obtained by Cypress Mountain from Boucher. The search-and-rescue organization has long maintained that charging people for rescues could discourage others from calling for help.

Tim Jones issued today (December 20) the following statement via the NSR blog:

The subject and Cypress are negotiating the bill. We have nothing to do with it and will not , I repeat will not receive a donation from Cypress.

The very thankful subject will give us a donation.

NSR HAS A CLEAR POLICY AGAINST FINES OR CHARGES.

We have serious clean up to do , major logistics on our new base move coming right at us , preparing for serious avalanche conditions and tasks etc.

We are a busy team and don’t have time to get into lengthy discussions about this.

Boucher, a West Vancouver resident, was rescued on Tuesday night (December 18) in Cypress Provincial Park, after a search effort that lasted more than two days.

On the group's blog, John Blown of NSR called the rescue a "massive task".

"Our team members were putting in 20 hour search shifts in horrendous terrain in marginal conditions. Everyone dug deep on this one and came out for the good of our team and ultimately for the good of Sebastien. Our search management team worked non-stop, to coordinate the resources and cover off each area, slowly expanding the search area, which ultimately (combined with a break in the weather) led to the discovery of his tracks," Blown wrote.

Comments (23) Add New Comment
TenMile
Agree with their stance on not wanting any part of a fine directed their way. You don't want to force a person into making a life or death decision because of the fear of financial penalty.

However, are there ways for these rescue organizations to make it easy for their "clients" to repay them? E.g. make it clear they accept donations, or volunteer hours or fundraising or replacement of specific equipment?
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DavidH
Tim Jones is a great guy, but he simply doesn't recognize the importance of financial penalties for those who deliberately violate regulations. Without such penalties, his members will be continually faced with the risks of rescues that shouldn't happen.

If some people choose to resist rescue, in order to save dollars, oh well. When you die, you die.

Mr.Jones is just wrong on this one.
Rating: -8
David24
NSR should be there to help people who get into trouble through no fault of their own and accept that being rescued not only costs money, but risks the lives of other people. Those who engage in risky behaviour and refuse to accept responsibility for their actions and pay the bill should be left to find their own way out or die trying.
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dk
There should be a law passed to the affect of when you break it your hauled into court to face a judge. If found guilty your fined and the fine goes to fund the search and rescue. I mean if you don't see a spead sign on the Hwy and your caught speedind you pay, should be the same in the mountains.
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Nati Herron
If you have ever been on the NSSR website you might notice there is a donation button to click on. I would assume that those who can donate and others who can't will pay it forward in other means. I believe we are human and tend to not be perfect and therefore make mistakes. I would hope we are moving forward and not backward with "off with their heads" mentality. For those here I hope you may never need the services of these dedicated volunteers. Peace
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BAM
I feel NSR...is sending the wrong message, while the ski mountains are trying to do the right thing. Brazen self entitled people will continue to break the rules , will continue to be brazen and snub authority and continue to put other lives in danger while costing us taxpayers even more. This is not a responsible decision.
If people know there is a steep penility and or fine they will resist, if they feel there is no repercussions.....then they will continue to do as they please.
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BAM
Tim Jones issued today (December 20)
The subject and Cypress are negotiating the bill. We have nothing to do with it and will not , I repeat will not receive a donation from Cypress.
Then we as tax payers should reconsider tax payers money that goes to fund NSR. I am ticked off by there stance on this. and it's a slap in the face to the tax payer who ultimately is stuck with the bill while these fools continue to snob authority and rules.
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RF
If we are going to get serious and egalitarian about this matter of fines for those who knowingly put themselves in harms way and require rescuing, I suggest that penalties be imposed on the speeding driver who was to be extracted from his damaged vehicle by the jaws of life, or the motor boat driver who was going too fast, flipped over and had to be rescued by the Coast Guard. Why are hikers, boarders and skiers who go out of bounds and get in trouble any different that the speeding motorist or boat driver ????
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MarkBowen
Whoa, easy on the compassion there all you Gandhi's.

Sometimes every now and then otherwise smart and nice people make stupid decisions and get themselves into life threatening situations. Perhaps one day, you could even find yourself in such a situation from making one single bad decision. Nobody ever expects to need to be rescued.

Forcing people to choose between death or financial ruin & public condemnation is absolutely fucked up, and some of you really need to think about what you are saying, and try to find an ounce of compassion in your Grinch like hearts.

Merry Christmas, eh?
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PArty
Who made up that he is a West Vancouver resident ??? He lives in DT Vancouver
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Bozo The Clown
I love how the people who want to spank the 'scofflaws' who might need rescuing are all "duh, kant spel, want to punnish the ignerent" Speaks to the value of the uninformed opinion.
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Andrew
Those commenting on this story should first read the North Shore Rescue's reasons for their policy, before emotionally concluding that the rescue volunteers, the ones out in the field doing the actual work, are wrong:
http://www.northshorerescue.com/services/charging-for-rescues/
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Rating: +9
sa
Tim Jones. His team. Constantly heroes. Men of action. Not men of politically correct chit chat about NSR policies.
Yes. The morons who ski out of bounds are incredibly stupid.
But NSR would rather be saving only one moron, rather than the multiple ones who come out to find the first moron because they don't want to pay fines.
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Natty
The fact is that penalties do work as a deterrent. How many people would be tempted to steal if the threat of jail and a criminal record didn't exist? If you look at illegal downloading, where the threat is low but the act is still regarded as theft, apparently a lot of people participate. Or, if you still disagree there, how about comparing it to an ambulance service? Pretty hefty bills there
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Larry
So someone needs to be rescued or they will die. Would you pay $10,000 to save your life? Of course you would. From your foolish act it put others peoples lives in danger and took up their time. Be grateful that there was a search with trained people. Now pay up and thank them.
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DavidH
@ RF: There are penalties already imposed on careless drivers or boaters who break the law. Skiers and boarders, on the other hand, face no legal penalty for behaving like irresponsible jerks.
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odb
for everyone saying the "stupid" "irresponsible" people who need to be rescued should pay for their rescue - do you think people who smoke, drink too much, eat fatty food and get no exercise should pay their medical bills? just wondering... it seems like we all pay for others poor decisions and lifestyles (I've paid $10 000s for car insurance and never used it)
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Whistler
As the Cypress Mountain ski area is built on public land, it is technically not "going against authority" (as some have put it) to go out of bounds -- you are just releasing the Cypress Mountain from liability by moving beyond their designated boundaries. Those well-versed in the backcountry know and respect it. It is a place to experience the beauty of nature and the thrill of the ride. Accidents happen, and even experts can make bad calls on weather, avalanche risk, and geographic orientation (see the New York Times' article 'Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek').

I commend NSR on their decision to not, essentially, condemn Boucher to financial ruin. To charge Boucher this amount seems to be counterintuitive in a place where subsidized health care is championed, and will only discourage others from calling for help should their lives become truly endangered.
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Skier55
Cypress ought to absorb the costs of rescues. They don't own the mountain. We do. They merely have the privilege of leasing it from us, and their insistence to put a price tag on this skier's mistake makes me think they don't appreciate the privilege. Perhaps the monopoly should be awarded to a more enlightened operator?
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Skier56
P.S. With respect to the arguement for and against charging for rescues: does the coast guard charge for rescues? Does the fire department? No, because they're rescues. Making a mistake doesn't make someone necessarily wilfully negligent. Cypress runs a ski mountain that boarders a vast and dangerous terrain. Such stewardship necessarily comes with some very real and inescapable responsibilities, one of which is that sometimes skiers will get lost outside of the resort's boundaries and that these skiers will need rescuing. If cypress doesn't accept this responsibility, which includes the associated costs, as part and parcel of the privilege of such stewardship then they are naive and simply trying to avoid such costs.
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