Missing backcountry skier, body found in Kosciuszko National Park

NSW snow region. Pic: Phillip Minnis/Shutterstock

The search for a missing 23 year old backcountry skier from Canberra ended today with the discovery of a body in the remote Watsons Crags area.

The PolAir helicopter spotted a person around 3pm yesterday but the search was suspended due to both terrain and weather conditions.

The steep terrain meant the PolAir helicopter was unable to land nor utilise winching elements to drop a rescuer down to the body.

The recovery operation to retrieve the body resumed today, Tuesday, and officers were winched down to the ground where the body was located.

The missing skier had departed for a backcountry ski day on Saturday morning with a personal beacon locator and the necessary backcountry equipment. He contacted his family with imagery from the snow region before communications ceased that afternoon after a last sighting near the Watsons Crags region of New South Wales backcountry.

His car was left at the Guthega car park where police left a note on the windscreen Saturday night should he return. On Sunday the search extended to alpine huts and backcountry areas before a PolAir helicopter was utilised in the search on Monday.

The three day search involved specialist police from the Alpine Operations Unit, PolAir, the State Emergency Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service and local experts in the backcountry. 

The body is believed to be that of the Canberran but is yet to be formally identified.

Our thoughts are with the family, friends, rescue teams and backcountry community.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.