Body of lost skier found on Mt Hood

Man, 23, left group to ski down mountain

POSTED: 9:20 PM PDT March 31, 2013    UPDATED: 10:10 PM PDT March 31, 2013 
MT. HOOD, Ore. -

A ground and air search for an overdue and likely lost skier on Mt. Hood ended tragically Sunday night with the discovery of his body, submerged in a creek, Clackamas County sheriff's deputies said.

Deputies said the 23-year-old man's body was found around 7:15 p.m., submerged in a creek near Hwy. 26, west of the Ski Bowl Resort.

The state Medical Examiner's Office will conduct a death investigation, assisted by the sheriff's office, while the Sheriff's Office Dive Team will assist with the recovery effort, they said.

Searchers learned that a group of experienced skiers left the boundary of Ski Bowl's west side Saturday night and gathered at a hut just outside the resort boundary.

Investigators learned from a member of the group that alcohol was being consumed and the man appeared intoxicated.

Deputies said they learned he decided to head down the mountain alone but became disoriented when he left. He had been in contact with a member of the group by cell phone, but was still unable to find his way.

Earlier, deputies said the man last was seen around 9 p.m. Saturday near Mirror Lake, having left his group to ski down the mountain. He never met up with his group.

Deputies said the skier -- his name was not released, pending notification of family -- was not prepared to spend the night, to their knowledge, and apparently had been consuming alcohol before setting off alone.

He last was contacted by campers at Mirror Lake, deputies said. They only had contact with him from across the lake, and said they tried to direct them to their location, but he never arrived.

By late Sunday, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Mountain Wave Search and Rescue, American Medical Response Reach and Treat Team and the Oregon National Guard equipped with a helicopter had joined in the search.