Crews have been searching for a missing Sugar Bowl ski instructor for three days, and there's still no sign of him.
The wind and freezing rain at Sugar Bowl had some skiers calling it quits halfway through the day.
"It's a little colder, we're going to take the kids in and get some hot chocolate in them, but it's a little colder, the temperatures are starting to dip and the wind is picking up," skier Andrew Holston said.
Search and rescue crews trying to find 23-year-old Carson May didn't have that option.
Forty people continued searching the back country for a third day, but the Placer County Sheriff's Office said it originally expected 75.
And although helicopters were ordered, they couldn't help in the search.
"We ordered up two helicopters -- one from the National Guard, they actually tried to make it up here, and they hit a wall, a ceiling of weather they couldn't make it past. CHP tried to make it up as well, they weren't able to pass in," said Dave Hunt with the Placer County Sheriff's Office.
Crews were depending on the aircraft to check an area avalanche danger has kept ground crews out of.
The sheriff's office is still calling the search a rescue mission.
"At some point, we'll get around to decide what's the survivability at this point, but we're not near that point yet," Hunt said.
Officials say May could still be alive. Survival in the area at this time of year is not unheard of.
"The longest one I've seen out of this ski resort off the back of the mountain was about three-and-half, four days. And she was in really really good shape, good health," Hunt said.
Avalanche dogs are being used to check beneath the snow.
"They're only good for us if we're doing some probe searching. There's a thick crust over some of those areas. And in order to get the scent out they got to poke some holes in the ground for us," Hunt said.
Word of May's disappearance has spread across the resort, where his brother is also a ski instructor. He's rumored to be searching the mountain himself.
Other skiers said they're keeping his family in their thoughts and prayers.
"I'd be out of my mind with worry you know? I was keeping an eye on the kids even down here... I can't imagine on the backside of the mountain by yourself what it would be like," Holston said.