Rescued Bend skier's grateful father offers thanks

'Fatbike' rider found his tracks well outside ski area

Father speaks after son found on Mt. Bachelor

BEND, Ore. - When we spoke with Ryan DeYoung's father Monday evening he was still a little shaken up and tired because he couldn't sleep. With his 21-year old son missing at mount bachelor for a day, all Bruce DeYoung could do was wait by the phone for news -- good or....

"It was horrible," Bruce DeYoung said. "I was up all night."

Bruce DeYoung said his son was skiing downhill behind him Sunday morning, when he went missing a little after 9 a.m..

"He went off a jump and hit his head," Bruce DeYoung said, having only learned later what happened behind his back. "Got a concussion, and got disoriented -- and started walking. and left his skis there and everything."

Early Monday morning, as a major search was gaining speed, backcountry enthusiast Ron Thompson noticed ski tracks in an area usually occupied by "fatbikes" like the one he was on.

Thompson says he initially didn't think anything of it -- until he remembered seeing NewsChannel 21's report about DeYoung earlier that morning.  

"If hadn't seen it on the news, I probably wouldn't have given it another thought," Thompson said. "I was like, 'Oh yeah -- there's a missing guy out here somewhere.'"

After learning DeYoung was still missing, Thompson called police so they could track his cellphone along the tracks. Thompson first followed the ski tracks downhill - then saw DeYoung had removed the skis and followed foot (boot) prints back uphill.

Thompson was able to lead search crews to Ryan DeYoung a little after 11 a.m. Monday.

"He (DeYoung) was pretty happy," Thompson said. "I'm sure it was a very long night, but he seemed in really good condition."

Ryan DeYoung had left his phone at home, so he couldn't contact anyone for 24 hours. Despite that, his father hoped he was okay.

"He's a really good kid," Bruce DeYoung said. "I'm so happy. I went from totally freaked out to, you know, it was great."

Bruce DeYoung can now breathe a sigh of relief and thank those who helped find his son.

"Really want to thank the sheriff's department and search and rescue," Bruce DeYoung said. "Overnight and today -- it's amazing what they do. If it wasn't for them, he might have been out there another day. I don't know."

Ryan DeYoung was admitted to St. Charles Bend to be treated for a concussion and frostbite. He's expected to be released Tuesday morning.

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