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KSL gets look inside snowmobilers' snow cave

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Mar. 9, 2011 at 10:05 p.m.


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WASATCH COUNTY -- Brock Besner, 27, and Craig Dallessandro, 24, spent three days and two nights stranded in extreme weather in the mountains above Heber City, living in a snow cave, like the ones you learn to make as a boy scout.


Too many people make the decision to make shelter and start providing for their livelihood long after their abilities are gone.

–Joel Kohler


Search and rescue teams say the men did exactly what they were supposed to do -- build a shelter. The two found a grove of trees that helped form a small hole in the deep snow, then dug it out further protecting them from high winds and cold temperatures.

The two MacGyver'd a fire by soaking a rag in the fuel from their snowmobiles, igniting it using a spark from a pulled spark-plug wire and pulling the ignition cord, then maintained the fire by breaking branches off of nearby trees.

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"Being able to build a fire under those conditions is quite incredible," said Wasatch County Sheriff Todd Bonner.

Joel Kohler with Wasatch County's search and rescue team says the shelter is a great example of what you should do if you're lost in the backcountry during the winter.

The stranded snowmobilers dug this out this snow cave, which provided shelter from the elements and ultimately led to their survival
The stranded snowmobilers dug this out this snow cave, which provided shelter from the elements and ultimately led to their survival

"Too many people make the decision to make shelter and start providing for their livelihood long after their abilities are gone," he said. "As hard as it is, at some point you've got to decide, ‘I'm in trouble, it's time to make shelter and wait for help.'"

The pair also used plastic bottles to melt snow for water.

"They made some good decisions," said Kohler.

Those decisions allowed Besner and Dallessandro to survive.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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