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Lost Skier Found After Two Nights in Sierra : Rescue: Despite suffering some frostbite on his hands and feet, the 26-year-old man is in good condition.

From Times wire services

For the second time in just over a month, a skier missing at a Sierra resort has been found alive after losing his way on a downhill run.

Bennet Zelner, 26, was found by searchers in a California Highway Patrol helicopter shortly before 9 a.m. Friday. He had last been seen on Wednesday walking toward a ski lift at Alpine Meadows just west of Lake Tahoe.

“My feet and my fingers feel a little weird, but I feel pretty good aside from that, a little tired,” Zelner told a San Francisco television station after his rescue.

Authorities said Zelner was walking around, apparently disoriented, and had passed close to several homes before being sighted. He then waved to rescuers in the helicopter.

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Zelner, of Berkeley, was taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee. He suffered frostbite on his hands and feet and mild hypothermia, but otherwise was in good condition, authorities said.

“Mr. Zelner’s in good condition. He’s also in good spirits,” said Mary Luker, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

The Placer County sheriff’s office said Zelner had gone outside of ski area boundaries and was found about a mile south of the ski resort’s Sherwood chairlift. He endured two nights in subfreezing temperatures and snowy conditions.

More than 60 rescuers were involved in the search, aided by four dog teams.

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Zelner, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, was described as a beginning to intermediate skier with only a rudimentary knowledge of survival skills.

On Dec. 5, Alan Austin, a Bay Area lawyer who had disappeared in whiteout conditions at the Squaw Valley ski area two days earlier, was rescued by helicopter after digging a snow cave.


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