“BARTLETT — A Massachusetts teenager skied beyond the posted boundaries at Attitash Mountain Resort on Thursday morning, got lost and became disoriented but was rescued before his body shut down that night.
Fortunately for Jared DiNatale, 17, of Rowley, Massachusetts, members of Mountain Rescue included winter survival-training Air Force Pararescue personnel, who happened to be in the area. They assisted in the rescuing him, using night vision goggles, which ultimately located the boy between Attitash and Bear Peak.
According to releases put out by Sgt. Bradley Morse of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and Attitash, Jared and a friend were skiing on the trail known as Far Out at approximately 11 a.m. Thursday. Then Jared chose to venture off trail and beyond ski area boundaries toward the Stoney Brook drainage area between Attitash and Bear Peak mountains.
At about 3 p.m., according to releases, Jared was able to call family before losing cellphone capability. He also had sent text messages to his friend indicating he was lost. It was then that Attitash Ski Patrol initiated a search for him, but without success.
Weather conditions on the mountain at the time were 20 degrees with light, blowing snow.
“Working with the parents, as well as the friend who had been skiing with the boy, Attitash Mountain Resort Ski Patrol and Mountain Operations immediately began searching for the missing skier,” the release from Attitash stated.
Between 5 and 6 p.m., New Hampshire Fish and Game and Mountain Rescue Service were called in to assist in the search. Ten members of Mountain Rescue responded, but they were soon joined by other colleagues.
“Peter Doucette and Alan Comeau were conducting a military survival class with five guys from the Air Force at the time, with night vision glasses, when they heard the call and joined in,” Rick Wilcox, president of Mountain Rescue Service, said by phone Friday. “They came up for cold weather rescue training and got the real deal.”
With the arrival of darkness, the temperature dropped to single digits, and the wind picked up, putting the wind-chill factor well below zero.
According to Fish and Game, Jared was located at 9:38 p.m. in the Stoney Brook drainage between Attitash Mountain and Bear Peak, approximately three-quarters of a mile uphill from the trail he had left.
“He was way off the ski area, hiking in the wrong direction,” Wilcox said. “He was hiking up the mountain instead of down. You teach every kid in the world when they find a brook to follow it down, but he went up. The comment I heard was he said he could hear the sound of a lift so that was the direction he went.”
Jared was suffering from cold exposure but was uninjured.
“He was done when we found him,” Wilcox said. “He was not moving.”
Wilcox said the teen had to helped down the mountain by rescue personnel on either side.
Jared was finally reunited at about 11:45 p.m. with his anxiously waiting parents, who were ecstatic to see their son.
“We are very fortunate that this story had a happy ending,” said Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain President John Lowell. “I was contacted Thursday afternoon and made aware of the lost boy shortly after staff here at Attitash were notified by the parents.
“In cooperation with the New Hampshire Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service and Mountain Rescue Service, I can say that the Attitash Ski Patrol, Mountain Operations and others here at Attitash provided every resource possible in the search-and-rescue effort, and all of us are very happy that this young man was found safe and sound.”
“The incident is a good reminder to all people recreating in the outdoors to dress appropriately, carry necessary equipment and remain consistent to a plan,” the Fish and Game release stated. ”