Still No Sign of Missing Ski Instructor After Four Days of Searching

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NORDEN --

The search for missing Sugar Bowl ski instructor Carson May, 23, has now reached a fourth day. But a break in the weather Monday afternoon allowed helicopters to finally reach the search area for the first time since Friday.

Aircraft from the California Army National Guard and the California Highway Patrol were searching for May in back country areas where ground crews could not go before.

"(The areas they're flying in were) too dangerous, it's still too dangerous to go back there with the snow last night, it's created a high avalanche concern," said Sgt. Dave Hunt, spokesman for the Placer County Sheriff's Office. "Helicopter is going to be looking for any clues of maybe skis, maybe a jacket."

At the same time, search and rescue crews went back to the top of Mt. Judah to conduct a grid search on foot.

"Every foot we probe into the ground, probe around every tree well and we just look for clues until we get to the bottom," Hunt said.

The focus Monday was along the route May could have taken from the top of Mt. Judah to the employee locker rooms near the parking lot. That's where Hunt said family believe he was trying to go.

"We've been through that area on skis, we've course searched it, but we thought we better do a methodical search and see if we can't find some clues to his last whereabouts," Hunt said.

It's also a part of the resort popular with back country skiers.

"We tried to get off into that extra powder over there in the trees, and everybody is in there searching for that dude. So we hope they find him," said Erick St. John, who often goes boarding in the back country around Sugar Bowl. "There's a lot of people back there, in fact, we stayed out of there for the most part through out the day, let them do their thing... they all got super long poles, probably about 10 feet poles, and they've kind of got an area mapped out and they're poking through."

Hunt said crews are poking those holes in order to help the avalanche dogs.

"Once it freezes up, it's difficult for the dogs to get a sniff on it because it puts a layer of ice on it like a seal on a can," Hunt said.

The area crews were focusing on foot is below where May's cell phone was last pinged. Hunt said that's because the cell phone towers are so far away, they may not be accurate.

"Based on our investigation, his GPS was not enabled at the time on the phone," Hunt told FOX40.

Meanwhile St. John said boarding in between the trees is a thrill he can't get on the groomed slopes, but it comes with many risks.

"I did get stuck back there behind the lake before, and I had to hike out in a pretty gnarly storm condition," St. John told FOX40.

Still, Hunt insists this is still a rescue, and not a recovery mission.

"If they have some survival skills and able to seek some shelter and use the resources around them such as the snow for hydration, they can survive out there for up to three, four, five days," Hunt said.

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