On March 22nd, WBR member resorts Alta and Snowbird participated in Utah's statewide day of giving- aptly dubbed Love UT, Give UT. WBR teamed up with Wasatch Adaptive Sports and The Cottonwood Canyons Foundation to combine efforts in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
This past Thursday I had the opportunity to visit Park City Mountain Resort and observe some of their dog teams run through drills in preparation for the teams' upcoming A and B tests. For Bert and his dog Stella, it would be the last chance to practice before their A test the very next morning at Deer Valley, and for Hutch and his Golden Retriever, Calamity, it would be their first ever double blind burial.
On a sunny Friday in mid- February I had the chance to visit Sundance Resort and spend the day with John "Woody" Woodruff and his dog, Angus, who had just returned from the Swiss Dog school in January.
Ever wonder what it's like for the WBR teams selected to travel abroad and attend a Dog School? Here's Ski Patroller Lauren Edwards' first hand account of her experience at the 2013 Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association school.
This January, my black lab Tucker and I had the honor of getting to travel to Golden, BC to take part in the CARDA’s annual winter avalanche dog training course. We joined Matt Leri from Alta, and his yellow lab, Primrose, for a week long course held at Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, BC.
On Sunday January 13, 2013, twenty eight dogs and their handlers checked into Alta's Peruvian Lodge. Ski patrollers had travelled from resorts across the continental US and as far away as Alaska. They were full of expectations, and were now buzzing with excitement in Little Cottonwood Canyon, ready and waiting in anticipation for Wasatch Backcountry Rescue's biannual International Dog School.
The 2013 WBR International Dog School is now underway. All the dogs and handlers spent the first day on the snow at Alta and Snowbird despite well below freezing temperatures. Teams searched for articles, trained on obediance, and even found live burials.
Dog and handler teams begin to arrive tomorrow for Wasatch Backcountry's 2013 International Dog School. The Dog school begins Sunday, January 13, and will host teams from accross the United States including Alaska, with some puppies attending as young as 5 months.
The school will be held over the course of four days, with stations at both Alta and Snowbird, where the dogs and handlers will be put through a wide range of drills and scenarios. These stations are designed specifically by the professionals at WBR to focus and enhance the dogs skills in an emergency rescue scenario.
As we enter our 37th year as a professional rescue organization we are excited to continue to work together as professionals serving our community, and educating and training the public.
We have exciting plans to host our International Dog Rescue School in Little Cottonwood Canyon this January, as well as sending our professional rescue teams to train in Switzerland, Canada, and Washington State.
WBR is proud to host numerous avalanche clinics around the Wasatch Range that will be open to the public. We hope these clinics will better educate and train backcountry users, resulting in a safer back country season for everyone.
Angus and I have been a team for nearly 4 years now at Sundance Resort. We completed our first Level A test at Deer Valley two years ago. We were excited to come off a great WBR dog school at Brighton and Solitude and head back to the Cottonwoods to test this year.
It was another great year for participants at the Wastatch Backcountry Rescue In-House Dog School. A wide range of dogs, handlers, educators, and volunteers gathered at Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon for the four-day training.
It is an even numbered year, which means the WBR Dog School is ramping up and getting ready to train in-house WBR member teams. Next season (2013), an odd numbered year is available for enrollment for public and International teams by application.
Local WBR dog handlers train on basic and advanced field work, dog socialization, puppy instruction, ranging, beacon search, probing techniques, modern shoveling techniques, dog agility, dog obedience, and the Swiss four phase method. Next week the crew hits Brighton Ski Resort to build on their skills. Check in next week to see how the pups and handlers measure up to these rigorous standards.
WBR Avalanche Rescue canine and handler teams gathered at Brighton Resort 11-07-2001 for an annual obedience and socialization test. Teams from Brighton, Alta, Snowbasin and The Utah Olympic Park passed the annual test and exhibited strong skills. Evidence of the hard work put in over the summer months showed in all the teams. After the testing process each dog had a turn at 4 phase progressions ON SNOW, for the first time of the season.
Brighton Resort hosted a revalidation test for Canyon's Resort avalanche rescue dog team Dan Costaschuk and Linus. The team worked hard for the entire 20min test scenario. Dan and Linus cleared the path, finding two articles and one live victim. Finding only one victim the team worked quickly to recover areas and clear margins. Upon conclusion of the test when asked "is the site was clear?" Dan replied with a smirk "yes i believe it is". The training and effort this team has put forth is evident in their travel and practice. They are a great asset to The Canyon's Resort and WBR
Alta Ski Resort WBR avalanche rescue dog team Dave Richards, Jake ("the dog"), and Helen visited Brighton Resort 2-9-2011 for level "A" revalidation testing. Dave's experience, training and dedication are very evident in the way this team moves and searches. The team recovered two victims, an article, and cleared the path in the 20 min test. They received a passing score with high marks in all areas. Dave and Jake ("the dog") are obvious assets to Alta Patrol and WBR.
On October 13th, 2010 the Utah Olympic Park hosted the annual WBR obedience test for the area avalanche rescue teams. 17 teams attended from throughout Northern Utah. Each team must pass an annual obedience evaluation to be operational for the up-and-coming winter season. The teams were tested on behaviors such as sitting, staying, healing, and coming. Each team practiced "dropping" behaviors where the dog would stop and drop midway while returning to the handler. Teams also practiced retrieving drills that are good skills for an avalanche team to exhibit.