Missing French skier Tom Gratadour has been found safe after a day-long search in the mountains to the west of Lake Wanaka.
Mr Gratadour, the world junior freestyle champion, had failed to return as scheduled yesterday from a solo back-country ski touring trip.
“We are delighted to have found him uninjured,” Wanaka Police search and rescue coordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson said.
“With the weather deteriorating rapidly and more snow expected tonight, it could well have been a different outcome.”
Wanaka Police and search and rescue volunteers started searching this morning after the 18-year-old from Lyon failed to return to Wanaka by late yesterday.
Four teams were deployed during the day.
A helicopter search found ski touring tracks above the Minaret Burn and he was located walking out back to his car.
“This is a good outcome, but we would want to emphasise that if you’re going into the back country we would strongly urge you to carry a personal locator beacon, ” Sergeant Nicholson said.
Image: Tom Gratadour on Instagram @tomgratadour
Click to read the Wanaka Sun online. Enlarge screen by double-clicking on the page
View all earlier editions of the Wanaka Sun here