Missing Snowboarders, Skiers Found In Separate Searches

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Four missing snowboarders from Reno, Nev., and two missing skiers from Santa Cruz County were found in separate searches after spending a frigid night in the Sierra Nevada.

Placer County Sheriff Edward Bonner said both groups became lost in a blizzard Friday afternoon at separate ski resorts just north of Lake Tahoe.

Skiers Nick Panofsky, 20, and Josie McKee, 17, became lost after leaving the backside of Mt. Lincoln at the Sugar Bowl resort. They were found and returned safely to the resort by 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Both escaped injury but were very cold, Bonner said.

Some of the same searchers later helped find the snowboarders at 7:45 a.m. Saturday inside a crude backcountry cabin about two miles west of the Alpine Meadows resort.

Snowboarders Nicholas Novich, 20, Kip Shields, 25, Jesse McKillop, 24, and Porter McQueary, 26, became lost after leaving the backside of Alpine Meadows' Summit Chairlift.

They descended Whiskey Creek to the unlocked hunters' cabin in the Granite Chief Wilderness Area, where they were able to start a small fire.

"If they had not located the hunting cabin they probably would not have survived the sub-zero night temperatures," Deputy Fred Carey said.

Overnight lows dipped to minus-8 at the nearby Truckee airport.

The four were spotted by a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew and flown out in good condition to the resort.

Sheriff's volunteers and members of the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team took part in both searches.