The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

When the snow melts: hidden treasures at ski resorts

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Australia, World | 1 comment

Phones, cash, used nappies, a Rolex, microwaves and even an adult toy – you’d be amazed what’s discovered when the big melt takes place.

“Due to snow now melted my husband has found an Iphone 5c on the grass hill behind the dining area at Blue Cow near the Magic carpet. It still turns on and charges. If you can prove it’s yours by describing the phone case and telling us the picture on the front then we would love to give it back to you.”

This was a Facebook message posted to the Perisher Snow Riders page the other day by Jacinta Muras, from Snowy Weddings. It’s a very 2015 solution to a problem that has more or less been around since the first ropetow was made in Truckee, California 105 years ago.

As yet there’s no happy ending to this particular story – one of Steve Jobs’ pride and joys is currently sitting at Jindabyne Police Station, still waiting for its owner to collect it. But it did get me thinking – I mean, who hasn’t lost something at the snow? And Christ on a bike there must be quite a bounty in them thar hills when the white stuff goes!

Alongside the single gloves (interestingly enough the suggestion seems to be the majority are left-handed ones), poles, chapsticks and 101 other fairly useless items to anyone other than the original owners, you know what one of the biggest issues is: used nappies! These are particularly prevalent in resorts that have snowplay/tobboganing areas. The area near the car park at Perisher is apparently a big problem, so for god’s sake people …

Mitchell Stephenson from guest services at Thredbo has seen it all over the years – perhaps the thing that surprises him the most are the number of Epi-pens that are found. These days he says you’ll also find selfie sticks and go pros. Plenty of phones do get returned – not always working – but when they are the owners are often found through Siri.

“We just ask to call ‘dad’ or ‘mum’ and it usually works,” he said.

The valuables go to the police station at Jindabyne after 30-90 days; the other stuff goes to a charity in Nepal.

“Give us a call or send us an email; we’re happy to look for you. But maybe contact the police as well – I’m actually about to do my last drop at the police station in the next few days.”

Personally I have several abiding memories of ski resort lost and founds.

The first was in Aspen Highlands in the 1990s, watching with curiosity from the chairlift as a man was sweeping a steep slope in the snow with a metal detector.

“What are you doing,” I yelled at him.

“I lost my keys man!” came the response.

The curse of too many jacket pockets (and leaving one open) hit one year early season when I tumbled and lost my wallet skiing Antons at Thredbo. I assume it was recovered by some punter in the spring.

Then there was the unmentioned resort where working the shift in the information booth proved very popular. I worked out why when I realised it also doubled as the lost and found counter. Let’s just say the temptation of literally dozens of wallets with various sums of money sitting there for weeks on end unchecked became too much of a temptation for a number of staff members.

Internationally, Big Sky in Montana has had some pretty major post-season clean-up days over the years – and have had some interesting returns to go with it.

Amongst the hundreds of gloves and wallets there was also a microwave and (ewww) used condoms. But topping that in 2011 was the discovery of a $20,000 Rolex. It was engraved and passed down from the owner’s father so had huge sentimental value and the lucky person who returned it got a $1000 reward for his trouble.

We obviously can’t vouch for this one but on American blog site wildsnow.com the author recalled some stories of what he found over the summer months at Teton Pass. He then called on others to share their stories. Needless to say the following was something of a show stopper:

“The strangest ‘find’ I ever heard of was by the trail crew at RL mountain during summer work. They found a dead mouse and a vibrator inside a glass jar under the chairlifts when the snow melted out. I always wondered what the story behind that one was.”

Hmmm, some stories are best left untold methinks.

And while not on the slopes themselves this was perhaps the freakiest story of all.

In 1960 an 18 year-old English student by the name of Bill Leech, who was studying in Grenoble, dropped his wallet behind a ski resort bar at Chamrousse.  It was found and returned to him – this year.

Turns out the owners were renovating and it had slipped behind a crack in the bench. Sacre bleu!

What have you lost at a ski resort? What have you found?

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1 Comment

  1. interesting how the van didn’t move for almost 6 weeks

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