- Fall Course – C-RAD Teams meet before the snow flies, late September or early October, to work on a wide variety of skills necessary for the winter avalanche season. A key part of this Course is the ability to get a few training drills in the helicopter – without skis and snow – focusing on the concepts of safely loading, unloading and going to work, or solving a search problem.
- Winter Course – Held at a member ski area, C-RAD Teams work together to progress in managing avalanche rescue scenarios. Staged in and under the snow, mentors set up rescue problems challenging how the Team works together, and highlighting strengths as well as areas of improvement – always developing and progressing is a core belief at C-RAD.
- Summer Training Days – Not letting our dogs forget the search game, we gather for a couple days of training in the heat of the summer. Practicing beacon drills, as well as reinforcing the “search game” with the dogs, staying current is a great way to hone our skills.
- In Resort Training – Dogs and Avalanche Techs, or Snow Techs, train specific skills every week, sometimes several times a week, at their home resort, or where they are patrollers and search and rescue professionals.
But, everyday is a training day for an avy dog. Just in methods of transportation, there is always something to learn. Dogs get good at riding chairlifts, snowmobiles and snowcats … one day you ride the chairlift, the next you ride down on the snowmobile, the day after you have to run down safely next to your skiing handler. Sometimes you ski to a training drill, sometimes you ride a lift and then ski to a drill. Good thing our ski season is nice and long, ‘cuz there is a lot to learn!
C-RADs avalanche dogs train every day and are essentially happy four legged ski patrollers who, in addition to working in the snow, help educate our guests about safety both at the mountain and around our local area – perhaps at a coffee shop, a book store or at an elementary school.
Our validated dogs are eligible to search inbounds, near-bounds and in support of our avalanche deployment program. The Summit County Rapid Avalanche Deployment Program is a joint effort with the local sheriff, Summit County Rescue Group, Flight for Life (the medical helicopter) and ski patrol. We all work together to save time, energy and precious minutes in the event of an avalanche or backcountry rescue.
Did you know … an avalanche dog is able to locate a victim quickly and efficiently, saving time and potentially lives. An avalanche dog can search several acres in about 30 minutes, while it would take about 20 humans using avalanche probes up to four hours to cover a similar area.
Dogs learn to literally follow their nose … sniffing us stinky humans out of the snow easily.
Besides the fun of working the snow, our avy dogs love to support our safety training both at the resort and around our community. Guests love to see our dogs riding chairlifts, and running down the mountain with their ski patrol handlers at sweep time.
The visibility of our dogs on the mountain – as they are fluffy ambassadors of our resorts’ safety program – helps to reinforce our overall safety goals.
Our members are from:
- Alpine Rescue Group
- Arapahoe Basin Ski Patrol
- Beaver Creek Ski Patrol
- Breckenridge Ski Patrol
- Copper Mountain Ski Patrol
- Keystone Ski Patrol
- Loveland Ski Patrol
- Summit County Rescue Group
- Vail Ski Patrol