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MailTribune.com
  • Happy ending for missing skier

    Family, searchers rejoice as missing skier is found on Mount Ashland
  • The moment it was confirmed that search-and-rescue crews had found 52-year-old Carol Koon alive and safe after an 18-hour search on Mount Ashland, sister-in-law Sharon Chappell's sigh of relief echoed in the Mt. Ashland Lodge.
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  • The moment it was confirmed that search-and-rescue crews had found 52-year-old Carol Koon alive and safe after an 18-hour search on Mount Ashland, sister-in-law Sharon Chappell's sigh of relief echoed in the Mt. Ashland Lodge.
    "She's in the (Sno)-Cat! Yes!" Chappell said Monday, hugging several family members.
    Minutes later, the whole family reunited with Koon after she stepped out of the Sno-Cat into a sea of hugs.
    "Thank you all," Koon said to gathered search-and-rescue crews before she went to get checked out medically.
    It was a happy ending after nearly a day of searching.
    Koon, of Chiloquin, had gone missing Sunday afternoon, shortly after telling family members that she was going to ski through Mt. Ashland's bowl, near the top of the mountain.
    She left at about 2 p.m. to make the run. By 4:47 p.m., family members had grown worried. They called 911 to report her as a missing person, even as a storm and sub-20 degree temperatures moved in.
    "It's the worst condition it could (have been) last night," said Lt. Pat Rowland of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
    Crews from numerous agencies swarmed to the mountain to help with the search, including search and rescue teams from Jackson, Siskiyou and Josephine counties, the Ashland Ski Patrol, Rogue Valley Snowmobile Club, Civil Air Patrol, Brim Aviation and even some of Koon's family members. Officials utilized six snowmobiles, five Sno-Cats, and four tracked quads, along with a helicopter. Crews combed the mountainsides Sunday night. National Weather Service officials said temperatures fell to the low 20s, with northbound winds reaching about 20 mph.
    Some family members stayed in the Mt. Ashland Lodge during the search, waiting. Niece Marla Chappell said she didn't give up hope, despite the blowing snow and cold.
    "Not with Carol," Marla said, although adding that the worry was no less real. "We're all hunters, and we all know woods, but it's a very different situation when you're out without a pack."
    Sheriff's Department officials said Koon made a wrong turn as she approached the top of the Bowl ski run. Instead of heading down the north-facing slope of the Bowl, she went south into what is called "the back side," an area that is open to skiers but is ungroomed and not heavily used.
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