'Strong-willed' snowboarder rescued after 3 nights in Whistler backcountry
Published Sunday, January 25, 2015 9:25AM EST
A young snowboarder is safe and warm after surviving three gruelling nights stranded in the mountains near Whistler, B.C.
Julie Abrahamsen, 21, left a marked snowboard trail in Whistler on Wednesday morning and spent three days lost in treacherous mountain conditions before rescue crews found her near upper Wedge Creek
Police launched a search for Abrahamsen on Friday and located her Saturday morning when rescuers in a helicopter spotted her tracks in the snow.
Brad Sills of Whistler Search and Rescue said it was a "big win" to find Abrahamsen alive and in relatively good health.
"These moments are just so great for us because we don't get enough of them," Sills told CTV Vancouver. He praised Abrahamsen for her "strong spirit" and willpower in enduring the harsh conditions for as long as she did.
"The weather has been treacherous. It doesn't get much worse than this," he said. "That's why this story is particularly sweet."
Police say mild temperatures likely contributed to Abrahamsen's survival.
The Norwegian woman was reported missing on Friday morning after her roommates noticed she had not been home in two nights. They immediately contacted police and sent out pleas on social media in the hopes of finding their friend alive.
Sgt. Rob Knapton said it's not unusual that it took so long for Abrahamsen's roommates to report her missing.
"She was living with other people that, as roommates, didn't necessarily have a huge amount of connection," he said. "They may have just not realized that she may not have been home."
Abrahamsen's roommates brought her fresh clothes for her overnight hospital stay on Saturday. They said they're happy to see that she’s doing well.
"It was very emotional," Sierra Niecke said of seeing Abrahamsen again.
Roommate Gemma Russell added: "Thank you. There's nothing else to say. We're just so grateful.”
With files from CTV Vancouver