Worcester County

‘This could’ve ended tragically’: Young skiers rescued from Wachusett Mountain amidst winter storm

PRINCETON, Mass. — Luck was on the side (or slope?) of two skiers after they traveled off the beaten path of a popular Worcester County ski resort in the middle of Tuesday night’s winter storm.

The storm brought howling winds and dropped 26 inches of snow on the mountain, according to Boston 25 Meteorologists.

“What scared me the most is one of the kids had stopped shivering which is a sign of hypothermia,” says Princeton Fire Chief, John Bennett.

In search of fresh powder, officials say two 15-year-old boys ignored signs on Wachusett Mountain to stay on the trails. The result? They got lost for three hours on the back side of the mountain before finally realizing they needed to call for help, with only 9% battery left on their phones.

“If you get off the trails into the backside of the mountain it is extremely deep, it is chest high so almost impossible to walk. Where they were nobody was going to find them unless somebody was randomly skiing at night,” says Chief Bennett.

It took less than an hour for Chief Bennett and other rescuers to find the boys after dispatch pinged their location through their cell phones. By the time rescuers showed up, the boys were fighting to stay warm.

“One kid was laying on top of the other to try to preserve body heat and keep each other warm. They were in bad shape, they were soaking wet, they were shivering,” says Chief Bennett.

It’s a situation that could have ended tragically, especially on a day when Mount Wachusett saw more than two feet of snow, but snowstorms don’t stop Wachusett from staying open.

“We don’t do anything unsafe here, but we definitely want to be open during those storms. Our skiers and riders really enjoy some fresh snow,” says Chris Stimpson with Wachusett Mountain.

The quest for fresh snow came at a price for two teens hitting the slopes, but Chief Bennett says they were relieved their journey had a happy ending thanks to rescuers.

“They were very thankful; they were very sorry. They are very lucky kids that is for sure,” says Chief Bennett.

Representatives at the mountain say there isn’t an age limit for skiers. They say it’s important to follow the warning signs.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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