Friday, November 30, 2007

It is that time of year again - winter! And sticking with the skiing theme of last weeks post, here are a whole bunch more ski-related pics.

But, really none of actually - skiing! Confused?

Well this is the time of year where we prepare for avalanche search and rescue, so we get our butts out of the office and practice search techniques.

It is always easier when you have some snow to work with, but that is in relative short supply so far this season. It is also more realistic if you can work in an actual avalanche deposit, as opposed to snowy field.

There are a few avalanche deposits in the 'not yet opened' areas of the ski hill, so that is where we went. The back side of the hill is not open yet, so we had to resort to snow machines to get back there.

It is also a good opportunity for our 'dog team' to practice their snow technique.

Although searching for buried tranceivers has always been a part of our recent exercises, this year things were even more high tech. We are working with a system of buried targets that can be turned on and off remotely from a control unit. This system also registers if it is hit by a searchers avalanche probe. The 'remote tragets' are the yellow boxes in the photo with 'easy searcher' on them.

I guess I should mention that these 'targets' are well hidden under several feet of snow when the search is in progress. The ones sitting on the surface have been dug out and 'rescued'!

In spite of all the high tech gadgetry employed, the rescue dog is still the single most valuable asset in an organized rescue.

And ... on the other side of the mountain - on Saturday, there was another historic moments as Canada's Britt Janyk had a podium finish, becoming the first Canadian woman ever to do so in the downhill at Lake Louise!

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