Rescuers Find Missing Mt. Ashland Snowboarder Alive

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue teams were searching for a missing snowboarder who was last seen on Mt. Ashland Sunday morning.

Posted: Dec 10, 2018 2:22 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2018 5:55 PM


UPDATE: The missing snowboarder has been found alive, according to JCSO:

"SAR has located missing snowboarder Eli Kepsel alive. He is speaking to rescuers and is en route to receive medical attention for hypothermia," JCSO said in a Facebook post.

"We couldn’t be happier to report that Eli has been found in relatively good health near the 2060 Road in the Ashland watershed! Our sincere thanks go out to Jackson County Search and Rescue, a dozen outside agencies, and Mt. Ashland’s dedicated Ski Patrol and operations team who were all involved in the search," Mt. Ashland Ski Area said in a post.

(Updated 12/11/18 at 10:50 a.m.)

UPDATE: The search for missing snowboarder Eli Kepsel continues on Tuesday, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO).

While search teams did locate "some tracks in the snow" beyond the boundaries of the ski area, they are not sure if the tracks came from Kepsel. The last confirmed sighting of Kepsel was Sunday afternoon at the ski area.

"Because of the relatively high snow level, much of the ground in the search area is bare, presenting fewer opportunities for visual tracking," JCSO said.

The searchers were forced to scale back their efforts overnight for safety reasons, according to JCSO, but the teams have checked all likely travel routes and roadways for signs of Kepsel.

JCSO said that no further information is available at this time.

(Updated 12/11/18 at 10 a.m.)

INITIAL REPORT: A man who drove up to Mt. Ashland on Sunday morning to go snowboarding has been reported missing, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO). Search and rescue (SAR) teams are currently searching for the missing snowboarder.

27-year-old Eli Kepsel went to Mt. Ashland on Sunday morning and never returned. Members of Mt. Ashland's Ski Patrol found Kepsel's vehicle still parked at the ski area on Monday morning.

Just before 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning, Monday, a family member called to report Kepsel missing, prompting the check by Ski Patrol.

SAR staff and volunteers are "actively checking likely routes on the mountain beyond the ski area," according to JCSO. Meanwhile, SAR staff are looking to hear from anyone who may have seen Kepsel since Sunday morning in order to help focus the search.

Kepsel’s snowboard reportedly has a blue bottom and his coat is a bright yellow-green color. He is described as being five feet, nine inches tall and weighing 165 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

If you have information that can aid searchers, please call JCSO dispatch at (541) 776-7206. Refer to case #18-25711.

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