The private company that operates the Cypress Mountain ski area on Vancouver’s North Shore says it plans to present a bill for $10,000 to a snowboarder who became lost after he went out of bounds Sunday, triggering a three-day search that ended with his rescue Tuesday night.
Joffrey Koeman of Cypress Mountain told CBC News Wednesday that he was pleased that wayward snowboarder Sebastien Boucher was found alive, but said the man would be asked to help pay for his rescue.
Koeman said that in order to end up where he did, Boucher, 33, of West Vancouver, had to have ignored and disobeyed a series of warning signs and then either climbed over or crawled under a boundary rope.
Koeman said any payment from Boucher would be donated to the North Shore Search and Rescue Society, which conducted the successful search.
Boucher has a different take on how his misadventure unfolded, however.
Says he was distracted by tragic news
In an exclusive interview with CBC News Wednesday, Boucher said he was on his way to the ski area when he learned that a good friend had died. He said he went ahead onto the slopes but was terribly distracted, missed a turn and became lost.
“I know people criticize, say, ‘Oh this guy's stupid, he shouldn't be doing that, he deserves it.’ But people don't know. 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.”
Boucher, a director of finance with the National Bank of Canada, said he is aware he might get a bill from Cypress Mountain to help pay for his rescue, but committed only to raising money for the North Shore Search and Rescue Society.
Boucher said he survived the freezing nights in the hazardous North Shore wilderness, in part, by using his own urine in a Ziploc bag as a kind of hot water bottle.
He also said he climbed down a sheer 30-metre cliff by jumping from tree branch to tree branch.
“Even the guys, when they found me, they said ‘How did you get down here?’ I said ‘I jumped.’ He said … ‘You're an animal. I can't believe you're still walking and talking after this.’”
Boucher was airlifted out to safety Tuesday night with little more than cuts and bruises.
With files from the CBC's Alan Waterman and Ian Hanomansing