LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 32-year-old snowboarder who got lost on a mountain during a snow storm Tuesday evening is speaking out about his ordeal.
Aarin Yu, an investment banker, spent the night on a cold Heavenly Mountain before a helicopter lifted him to safety Wednesday morning. He told CBS2 got separated from a group of friends Tuesday afternoon when the heavy snow hit the mountain. Yu got stuck in chest-high snow. Yu couldn’t call for help. He told Fujii the mountain got poor reception. He was able to send frantic text messages and tell them he needed help. He had decided to cut across the trail to get a different run when he realized he was lost.
“At the 30 minute mark I’m thinking this doesn’t seem right because I’m not seeing anything that looks like the bottom of the lift,” Yu said.
Cellphone video showed the blizzard-like conditions.
Yu’s business partner, David Sutton, eventually got one of those messages and texted back.
“We could see he wasn’t getting our responses so we couldn’t assure him that we received that and help was on the way,” Sutton said.
Sutton called the Ski Patrol but didn’t have directions on how to get to Yu.
Meanwhile, Yu was wondering if and when help would arrive. Or if he should try to make his way out.
“You lose feeling in your hands, you don’t see anything. It’s pitch dark out there, and you’re just very slow,” Yu said.
He realized it made more sense to stay put.
“I found a tree, a pretty wide and thick tree nearby where I was and essentially hid behind that all of the night to block myself from the wind and the elements,” Yu said.
A little after sunrise, he heard the helicopters looking for him. And he made sure they wouldn’t miss him.
“Just relief, knowledge that hey the ordeal is close to being over. By tonight I’ll be somewhere safe,” he said.
He was hoisted out and only suffered some minor frostbite on some fingers. Yu said he will never the people who helped him get home.
“He said are you Aarin, and I says, ‘Yes! Boy am I glad to see you,”