CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Two Oxford skiers lost Wednesday night on the backside of Sugarloaf Mountain were rescued early Thursday morning after an overnight search in below zero temperatures.

Bradley Snow, 16, and Sven Bergeron, 20, were cold, tired and hungry but safe, Carrabassett Valley Police Chief Scott Nichols said.

The skiers thought they had traveled in to a newly opened section at Sugarloaf, Snow’s father, William, said later Thursday. He said both skiers love the outdoors and have been taught a lot of outdoor skills, including winter camping. They are both good skiers and regularly ski area slopes, he added.

“They built a shelter and put boughs and their skis on top,” he said. “It kept them out of the wind as temperatures dropped to minus 12,” the elder Snow said.

They knew they couldn’t hike out but went to a clear spot in the morning where a Maine Warden Service plane was able to spot them.

The skiers were checked by NorthStar EMTs and were fine, just hungry, he said.

It was a long night for the parents though. Expecting a call when they were leaving Sugarloaf, the Snows became concerned when the slope closed at 4 p.m. and there was no call.

“I’m really impressed with the professionals. They were really put to a lot of inconvenience,” Snow said.

Several rescues this season have prompted discussion of posting no trespassing signs along the trail boundary lines on the backside of the mountain, Nichols said.

The Maine Warden Service has helped with two rescues this season and there were three others that were not as involved, taking just a few hours, Ethan Austin, spokesman for Sugarloaf/USA, said.

Although Maine Wardens and members of Carrabassett Valley Fire Department spent the night searching for the skiers, there are no plans to charge them for the cost of the rescue, Austin said. The facts of each rescue are reviewed, case by case, he said.

Police said the skiers went to an area in Rapid Stream Valley.

“They admittedly followed another skier’s tracks in the snow, and they did go under the rope that signifies out of bounds,” Sgt. Scott Thrasher from the Maine Warden Service said in a statement. “In that area of the mountain, if you go out of bounds, it’s almost impossible to get back on Sugarloaf’s trails.”

Snow and Bergeron admitted they messed up but did a good job taking care of themselves, Nichols said. They stayed together, moved around enough to keep warm and waited till daylight.

They built a shelter in the snow by digging a hole in the side of the mountain, put pine boughs in it, tried to stay out of the elements and took turns sleeping, he said.

A plane flown by Maine Warden Service pilot Dan Dufault arrived at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and was able to locate the skiers nine minutes later on the south side of the mountain.

Wardens Scott Stevens and Kris MacCabe drove snowmobiles to about a quarter of a mile from the skiers then snowshoed the rest of the way, reaching them at 8:35 a.m., according to the warden service release.

“The wardens told us they had good news and bad news,” Snow said. “My wife, Beverly, asked for the bad news. They told us it was a long drive but the good news is they were waving at the plane.”

When their vehicle was found in a parking lot at Sugarloaf on Wednesday night, officers tried calling their cell phones but heard the cell phones ringing from within the vehicle.

Snow’s father said he had advised his son to leave the cell phone because reception is poor on parts of the mountain and if he fell, he’d crush it. The wardens have since told him it’s better for skiers to keep their cell phones with them.

Game wardens, the Sugarloaf Ski Patrol and local rescue services were then called out around 11 p.m. Rescuers used snowmobiles to do an initial search of common areas where skiers might be on the mountain, Austin said.

Rescuers had no idea where they were but wardens concentrated on the backside of the mountain because other skiers have been lost there in the past, Thrasher said in the statement.

Last January, three snowboarders spent a night lost on the backside of the mountain.

The mountain Ski Patrol is working on securing no trespassing signs, Austin said.

Once the boundaries are posted, those going over could face legal charges, Nichols said.

“We’re trying to find some way to keep folks from going out beyond the ropes,” he added.

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