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The Facets of Avalanche Awareness

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. 

Secondary Handler Steps Up To The Plate at Solitude: Rio & Jeremy Brodney

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.

TGR Athletes Participate in Safety Seminar at Snowbird


This week Snowbird hosted professional athletes from Teton Gravity Research as they participated in a three day safety seminar. The athletes training included both on and off mountain seminars covering everything from outdoor first aid, to avalanche safety, and beacon search and rescue. Athletes watched films, attended lectures, and put their skills to the test in real life scenarios.

Safety and Decision Making: A Psychological Dilemma

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?

Message From WBR President, Dean Cardinale

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.

Free Beacon Clinics and Avalanche Seminars @ Snowbird

Free 1 Hour Beacon Clinics

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.

- Friday, December 28, 2012   5 – 6 p.m.  FREE clinic

- Friday, January 25, 2013   5 – 6 p.m.  FREE clinic

- Friday, February 15, 2013   5 – 6 p.m.  FREE clinic

- Friday, March 8, 2013   5 – 6 p.m.  FREE clinic

WBR Welcomes 2012/13 Winter Intern

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.

EMT/Ski Patrol position open at the Utah Olympic Park

Would you like to work along side one of these incredible k-9s?  The Utah Olympic Park has a full-time year round position open in their ski patrol:


Full-Time Positions


Must have current EMT or OEC certification.

Willing to work in extreme outdoor conditions.

Ski Patrol Experience preferred.

Good public relations/customer service skills.

Must be available during events and weekends.

Intern search for Wasatch Backcountry Rescue – Snowbird 2012/2013

Wasatch Backcountry Rescue – Snowbird (WBR) is looking for one intern for the 2012/2013 winter season.  The intern will assist with the formulation of website content, blog content, accident reports, snow safety data, international dog school logistics, and a variety of other projects throughout the winter season. 

In addition to assisting WBR with administrative functions, interns will have the opportunity to observe and train with professional ski patrolmen and backcountry rescuers in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.


WBR at Winter Wilderness Medicine Conference

Sue Purvis and WBR dog handlers, shared thier skills this week and the 20th Annual Worldwide Winter Wilderness Medicine Conference this week in Park City.  WBR teaching skills are ever ready and extra fresh after the WBR In-House Dog School two weeks ago, and great weather made for fun in the snow.

Woody and Angus Level A test at Snowbird

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.   

Know Before You Go at the Utah Olympic Park

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!

Where: Utah Olympic Park Museum

When: Friday, February 29th at 7:00PM

WBR Dog School 2012



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.