The Avalanche Review Vol 31, No. 3

The Avalanche Review cover

Click for the cover article

The 2012 Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop (ESAW) was a great success. And, there is an article devoted to it in the latest edition of The Avalanche Review, thanks to the writing of Jonathan Shefftz. This publication, and the organization that produces it is a great resource for anyone interested in snow and avalanche information. The American Avalanche Association’s website describes the publication this way:

“The communication of thought and experience of snow science and avalanche technology is the mission of The Avalanche Review.”
— Sue A. Ferguson, Ph.D., Founding Publisher

The Avalanche Review is a trade and scientific journal serving the membership of the American Avalanche Association (AAA), a non-profit organization. Articles published in The Avalanche Review improve the knowledge and skills of its readers through topics addressing advances in forecasting, control techniques, education, and research. Balanced content is provided with material in areas such as rescue dogs, search methods, equipment, litigation, and accident reports, along with related general interest and timely news facing the profession.

While it comes as a part of the membership package for AAA members, you don’t need to be an avalanche professional or a ski patrol member to get it. You can subscribe for $30/year. It’s less than what a lot of people will spend on gas just for a single day of skiing or riding. In our mind’s, it’s a worthwhile investment!

We’ll be planning ESAW 2013 over the course of the summer. If you are interested in attending, give a call to the Ranger Station (phone number is at the bottom of every advisory) and leave us your email address. We’ll add you to the mailing list.

Search dog training, Feb 10, 2013

Attached is a video of a training session with a 15 month old chocolate lab who is being trained and evaluated for use as an avalanche search dog.  As many of you who have visited Hermit Lake this year may have noticed, she is still very much a puppy.  Lily lives with me and my family and goes pretty much everywhere with me. She is still doing lots of the annoying things that puppies do.  Obedience training is coming along but she still has a long way to go.  Shortly after she accomplished this search, in just over a minute, she broke her heal, ran across the bridge and stole, and eventually sheepishly returned, an avalanche instructors glove which had a transceiver in it.  Sorry Ethan!  Another annoying trait that Lily has is to jump up to try and “kiss” strangers when the bend to pet her. Until this bad habit is “licked” you may want to think twice before petting her or at least keep your mouth closed if you do!  Cutler, Chris Joosen’s dog, has been around for 11 years and is passing along some of his good behaviors to Lily. Cutler has performed some astounding finds in rescue training and has been a great asset in getting out avalanche safety messages to the public through his career. With more work and lots more training, hopefully Lily will be able to carry on Cutler’s tradition by being an effective AND well mannered rescue dog.  If you see Cutler on the mountain, be sure to thank him for his service as this will likely be his last year on the mountain with us.

Avalanche search dogs are an asset that we like to have around here.  We find that many people ski or climb without avalanche transceivers for whatever reason.  Getting avalanched and buried with no beacon exacerbates an already grim survival situation given the likelihood of traumatic injury in our terrain.  Clearly making good route finding decisions is your best defense against this hazard, but having dogs around gives us one more tool to try to save a life.  So if you are a dog lover say hi to Lily.  If you aren’t, apologies in advance if she jumps up.  I use “Off” as the command when she commits this senseless act of excitement…feel free to do the same.