Happy ending for prepared Wyoming snowmobiler in Moffat County
Craig — What could have been a life-threatening crisis turned out to be simply an unexpected overnight camping trip for 61-year-old snowmobiler Chris Zigler.
The Wyoming man went snowmobiling alone in the Bakers Peak area in northeastern Moffat County Sunday afternoon.
He snowmobiled south to Black Mountain, approximately 10 to 15 miles from where he parked his truck, when he turned off his snow machine and was unable to get it to restart, according to Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume.
“Rule No. 1 is you never ride alone, ever,” said Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club President Brad Moore.
Additionally, Moore recommends snowmobilers ride with a SPOT, a satellite phone or messenger that can be used to notify family and friends or emergency first responders of your location.
But Zigler did go into the wilderness prepared with proper clothing, food and water, and was equipped to stay out for the night, according to his fiancé who reported him overdue about 2 a.m. Monday morning. Attempts to contact Zigler were unsuccessful by Craig Daily Press.
Moffat County Sheriff’s deputies located his truck and trailer near mile post 9 on Moffat County Road 2 about 3:30 a.m. Monday and dispatched a team of Moffat County Search and Rescue and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.
Rescue officials were able to follow a single snowmobile track leaving the area of his vehicle before eventually losing it amidst multiple tracks. They ultimately found Zigler safe and uninjured about 9:30 a.m. as he was hiking back towards his truck.
“He made the decision to stay out and he was prepared to stay out overnight,” Hume said, adding that rescue officials then, “went back to his snow machine and were able to get it started and they all rode out together.”
While Moore emphasized always riding with a buddy, he also stressed other safety measures.
“The three things are: fire, shelter, signal,” Moore said. “And tell someone where you’re going. That mountain is big and you can get lost in no time at all.”
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.