Avalanche forecaster Al Roberts says you can’t really put into words how special the relationship he has with his dog is. He’s constantly blown away by how intuitive and resilient she is.
Though his dog Sadie is now retired from search and rescue work, he said for close to a decade he was working with his best friend everyday.
Roberts, who forecasts up at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, is just one about 40 dog handlers from across British Columbia, Alberta and the United States who convened here in Revelstoke last week.
Every year the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Association holds its annual certification courses at a different resort. This year, RMR took on the task, and CARDA members say they rolled out the red carpet.
“I cannot say enough about the local support for the dog program in this town,” said Roberts.
“The resort has been amazing. Local business’ have been amazing. We’ve always felt extremely supported here.”
The course took place over five to six days last week and saw veteran dogs and handlers mingle with relative newcomers to the field. Teams trained to receive their “in training” and “operational dog team” certifications, and Selkirk Tangiers and Arrow Helicopters even donated heli-time to get young pups acclimatized to glacier travel and being in a helicopter.
The week culminated in a successful fundraiser supported by local business’ at the Big Eddy Pub where heli and cat ski trips were auctioned off and money was raised to support the dog program.
Roberts says he’s blown away by the community of folks who came together here in Revelstoke last week. Particularly the pups.
“The ability of these dogs to work in a variety of inclement weather and still be able to figure out that there is someone in the snow is mind boggling,” said Roberts.
Over the course of the week three local dog teams received their roadside certifications and two new puppies were introduced to the program. These included handlers Kevin Thomas, Jamie McCaffrey, and Michelle Beachler.
For more information or to get involved with the program contact CARDA.