Snowboarder finds way after 22 miles

A lost Mt. Ashland snow boarder rescued himself Saturday by traveling more than 22 miles walking from ski slopes through drainages and forest service roads and into town, officials say.

Phoenix resident Chris Davidson, 24, got lost after boarding out of bounds at about 10:30 Saturday morning. The "determined young man" waded downhill through drainages in chest-deep snow before he reached what appeared to be a road at around noon, said Jackson County Sheriffs Deputy Tom Turk.

"A lesser person probably couldn't have done what he did," said Turk.

Davidson had made it to a forest service road considered to be largely inaccessible by Jackson County Search and Rescue crews. He found one of the emergency boxes which had been put in place by SAR and was able to learn his location from the enclosed maps, Turk said.

Davidson decided to continue walking until he found cellular service. Someone else might need the box's emergency supplies more than he did so he left them in place, Davidson later told sheriffs deputies.

The snowy remote area Davidson described is at the very end of the common response area for SAR searches in the Mt. Ashland drainage. It is more than 18 miles from the city of Ashland, Turk said.

As determined as he was, Davidson made yet another wrong turn on his way down the mountain.

But instead of continuing down the road, Davidson accidently left the forest road and ended up in another drainage, Turk said. He then cut back into the forest and walked out into the Strawberry Lane area of Ashland where he was contacted by Ashland police.

Although Davidson's wrong turn into another drainage delayed SAR from reaching him, it brought Davidson out into town far sooner than he would have been able to reach it had he stayed on the road, Turk said. Ashland police were the first to sight Davidson and directed the SAR officer to his location, he said.

Turk said Davidson showed great tenacity in making his way through such difficult terrain. He also was very fortunate that he made his way safely down the mountain, he added.

"He was very lucky," Turk said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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