Those dogs you see on chairlifts and at ski patrol huts around Park City aren’t just cute – they could save your life one day. All three Park City resorts have dedicated and expertly trained avalanche rescue dogs that are ready to jump into action if needed. When you see one, say hi, and know that your safety is in good hands – err, paws – under their care.
Avalanche Rescue Dogs Training
Avalanche rescue dogs begin their training as puppies with most starting the process at only seven to 10 weeks of age! During training, which takes two years, avalanche rescue dogs are trained on a wide variety of things, including recognizing human scents and learning to ride on ski lifts, snowmobiles and helicopters.
When fully trained, avalanche rescue dogs can detect a human scent through layers of snow and alert their handlers. An avalanche rescue dog can search an area up to eight times as fast as a human rescuer.
Before getting their final certification, avalanche rescue dogs have to pass a test that involves locating two buried volunteers in an area the size of a football field in less than 30 minutes. After passing, they are cleared to go to work, but still undergo ongoing training throughout their working career, which usually lasts eight to 10 years.
Avalanche Rescue Dogs in Park City
Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley and Canyons each have their own team of avalanche rescue dogs that keep watch over their slopes. PCMR currently has five dogs, Canyons has seven dogs and Deer Valley has three dogs. When not hard at work, avalanche rescue dogs are usually happy to meet guests – stop by a ski patrol station for more information about meeting the dogs.
If you’re not in Park City yet, check out PCMR’s Avalanche Rescue Dogs Facebook page for great photos!
Wasatch Backcountry Rescue
Wasatch Backcountry Rescue is a non-profit organization that is the initial responder to many winter accidents in the Wasatch Range backcountry. Avalanche rescue dogs and handlers from all three Park City resorts, as well as the other resorts in the Cottonwoods and around the area participate in the program to provide a professional rescue response. WBR also works to raise public awareness of the dangers of the backcountry and how to enjoy it safely.
As you plan your trip to Park City to meet our avalanche rescue dogs, use Park City Lodging to find a convenient place to stay. We offer properties at all three resorts and on downtown Main Street. Let us help you put together a great vacation!
Photo credit: Kameraschwein