If you go into the woods today you better go well prepared 

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And said Sills: "On any given weekend night I am convinced that there are at least eight people stumbling around in the backcountry who are technically lost but no one has reported them missing.

"They stumble around until the morning and then they find their way out."

WSR’s policy may seem controversial but said Sills: "We are not being callous in this.

"The fact of the matter is that to send rescuers out at night dramatically increases the risk of danger to them and that is just not something that we are going to do unless there is a known medical condition or the person is young or elderly."

So, said Sills, pay attention to the signs on the mountain. When they say you are going out of bounds that means there are no patrollers looking out for you, no avalanche control, no posters warning you of natural hazards like cornices, or creeks.

"When you call the RCMP and the search and rescue they are not the ski patrol," said Sills.

"They are there to protect life and limb, not to ensure that you are home to watch the hockey game that night."

And almost everyone in Whistler has heard a story about the long walk out from the Cake Hole at 10 o’clock at night, and it’s likely that is also playing a role said Sills.

When the RCMP receive a report of a missing person or get a call from someone out of bounds they pass the information on to search and rescue. If warranted, a meeting may be called with all the rescue stakeholders in the valley and an action plan will be drawn up.

In some instances Whistler-Blackcomb staff are called in to help, especially if the lost person is out of bounds near the mountains.

But skiers and boarder be warned: if mountain staff come to get you they will also be handing you a bill.

"Search is an emergency and the decision to go out has to be the right decision," said Bernie Protsch, the manager of Whistler Patrol for the past 16 years.

"We are not just like the cavalry running out.

"I can be sitting at home and someone will call 911 and (the RCMP) will give them my number and… if they are just out of the ski area boundary and they are OK I say, ‘sure we can come and find you if you have a credit card.’

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