Queenstown snowboarder safe after missing for eight hours at Coronet Peak

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A Queenstown snowboarder who went missing for eight hours at Coronet Peak yesterday (Tuesday) has been found safe and well.

A helicopter with night vision spotted the 30-year-old local man at 11pm outside the ski area boundary, a statement from NZSki says.

The man became separated from his friends in the Greengates area of the mountain at about 3pm. After he failed to meet them at the bottom of the Greengates run, his companions raised the alarm at the end of the day when he did not appear.

Coronet Peak ski area immediately launched its missing persons procedure and ski patrollers carried out a full sweep of the ski area.

He was located halfway down Dirty Four Creek towards Skippers Canyon, well outside the ski area boundary. He was cold but healthy and in good spirits.

Coronet Peak ski area manager Hamish McCrostie said the snowboarder was “extremely happy” to see the helicopter when it landed on a precipice above him.

“He came running up to the chopper. He was very lucky it all ended so well.”

Conditions on the mountain were cloudy with fog and low visibility at the time he became separated but cleared in the evening, enabling the helicopter to operate. It was not snowing at the time.

It’s the second time in a week a person has had a lucky escape after getting lost at Coronet Peak. Last Saturday, a 55-year-old Christchurch woman hiked all the way down to Hunter Road after she skied outside the area boundary.