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.
ALTA, UT – Non-profits serving Alta and the greater Little Cottonwood Canyon are combining efforts for Love Give Utah, a statewide day of charitable giving organized by the Community Foundation of Utah (www.loveutgiveut.org). The community is supporting two projects, each with matching grants up to $1,000 for donations made on March 22, 2013 during Love Give Utah.
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.
When we travel into the backcountry we acknowledge that we are taking a risk. Understandably, this is a risk that we must mitigate, or limit, to the best of our abilities. This includes taking measures on the day of our tour, in addition to the seasonal, and ultimately life long acquisition of knowledge with regards to the snow, snowpack, and terrain across which we intend to travel. We must strive to know not only the snow and the mountains, but ourselves.
Over the course of the past weekend I took my Avalanche 1 course through the American Avalanche Institute. My course was held in Alta, Utah, and run by Sarah Carpenter, one of AAI's co-owners, with the help of Pete Earl, a Professional Ski Patroller at Canyons resort in Park City, Utah.
Last Friday I had the opportunity to visit Solitude resort and spend the day with their professional Ski Patrol. The director of Solitude's dog program, Keith Sternfels made me feel right at home, and sent me up to the Powderhorn shack to meet with Jeremy Brodney and Rio. Rio is Solitude's only C-level, or Candidate dog, and in fact belongs to the patrol director, Marvin Sumner. Even though he is technically Rio's B, or secondary handler, the 22 month yellow lab spends a great deal of her on mountain time with Jeremy. It's clear that the two share a close bond.
Last week I went on mountain with Snowbird Ski Patroller Ari Theodore to do some basic beacon locator drills and transceiver practice. I learned a lot and had a great time, but it was a sobering experience. After locating two buried beacons I began to think about what the drill represented, what those thuds I had felt my probe striking were intended to represent. Bodies. As the reality of the drill sunk in I started thinking about all the unnecessary risks we take in our day to day lives, and how taking just one of those risks, making one tiny mistake in the backcountry could put actual human life in danger. Then it hit me- what about the tiny mistakes we make every day we ski in bounds at the resort?
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.
Learn how to navigate the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache Backcountry safely with Snowbird’s expert guides. In this seminar you will learn how to use transceivers as well as mountain rescue techniques. If you have a transceiver, bring it.
Wasatch Backcountry Rescue is proud to announce Whitney VerSteeg as Intern for the 2012/2013 Winter Season. As a New England native, Whitney grew up skiing ice, fast, mostly at night. However, after moving to Utah in 2010, it took very little convincing for Whitney to trade in her carving skis for powder skis. After spending two seasons cutting her teeth within the resorts in the Wasatch Range, Whitney is excited to expand on her snow science knowledge and delve into Utah's famous backcountry. We invite you to take the journey with Whitney, as she progresses through her Level 1 Avalanche course, and puts her skills to the test alongside the professionals at WBR.
On Wednesday, February 29th the Utah Avalanche Center will be giving a "Know Before You Go" presentation at the Utah Olympic Park. This is an introduction level presentation for backcountry users in Utah. Sean Hopewell and Parley will also be on hand to discuss Wasatch Backcountry Rescue's role in the avalanche community. It's free to attend-come join us!