Snowboarder rescued from Minnesota State Park after backcountry misadventure

Crews rescued a snowboarder from a Minnesota state park Sunday night after he and his brother ventured into the Midwest backcountry.

Any off-piste skiing in the Midwest is rare, but there are turns to be had on river bluffs in some places, including Interstate State Park. (Afton State Park is also a good spot for some steep-enough terrain and good snow)

According to this report from FOX 9, the 19-year-old and his brother were snowboarding in Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls, Minn.

Deputies found Luke Zajac, 19, at the base of the cliff, which was only reachable by foot. Crews executed a low-angle rope rescue in order to reach the man. Zajac was lowered to safety and transported to the emergency room, then airlifted to a Level 1 trauma center. He is now listed in good condition and his injuries are not believed to be as bad as they were at first. 

FOX 9
Crews worked to help the injured snowboarder. (Chisago County Sheriff’s Office/Twitter)

Interstate State Park is on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River. The more substantial side of the park is on the Wisconsin side. Either way, both have pretty steep sections that could be attractive to skiers and riders.

Unfortunately, this boarder suffered a fall from a pretty substantial cliff and required rescuing in very cold temperatures and tricky terrain for first responders.

Interestingly, crews used their sirens and lights to communicate with the victim, who was talking to dispatch, who was relaying that information back to deputies. It was an impressive rescue under strange circumstances.

As for backcountry in the Midwest, it can be hazardous like anywhere. These guys were lucky to be able to reach authorities so quickly after the accident.

Be careful, go slow and definitely don’t venture out there too close to dark like these guys did.

This all ended well thanks to the competence of the rescuers, but it could have been worse. Stay safe out there.

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