Two years ago, one of our patrollers, Hutch and his dog Belle Star, took a trip to Fernie for some advanced avalanche search and rescue training training. I just got a note from Hutch that another one of our patrollers and dogs are heading ever further afield:
Early tomorrow morning, Andy VanHouten, his 2 year old yellow lab Zeke (see photo) and Tracy Christensen a handler from Sundance Resort, will board a flight for Switzerland to participate in the avalanche dog training program that sets the standard for most Avalanche Search and Rescue Teams around the world. The opportunity to participate in this training comes through our partnership with Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, the organization that oversees avalanche dog training and testing here in Utah. Andy and Zeke were chosen to go as a strong young dog team, still in the prime of their learning, and able to bring the education home to the other area dog handlers.
In the past few years, we have had dog teams participate in the Stephens Pass course in Washington state and at the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association course in British Columbia. We'll look for updates from Andy and Zeke as they train in Andermatt, the land of enormous avalanches and amazing live recoveries by dog teams.
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.