Monthly Archives: February 2012

Avalanche Dog Practice Search

Anne and Seren

I didn’t ski today, but here is a video I took yesterday of a ski patrol’er on her day off conducting a practice search with her avalanche rescue dog. It was my first time watching such a search, and I was pretty impressed when Seren (the border collie) was able to find 3 sweaters buried ~20-30cm deep in just over 6 minutes.

If you are in Whistler, please consider going to a fundraiser for CARDA (Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association) and WAG (Whistler’s Animal Shelter) being held at Moe Joe’s on Monday February 13th. Tickets are $10 and the proceeds go to both organisations. No doubt it will be a fun night and according to this page (visit it for more info), there are a number of auctions taking place with prizes such as heli-ski trips up for grabs. If you can’t make it, why not consider making a donation to one (or both) of the organisations (links available on their websites).

For more information call WAG at 604-935-8364

In the video, you might notice that Seren spends extra time around 3 other areas – buried at those spots were avalanche transceivers (the kind worn by people). This whole area is a transceiver search practice zone often used by patrol and members of the public. To her credit, Seren decided to move on rather than dig at those spots (she was smelling surface scents rather than a scent coming from below – I think?)

Thanks to Anne and Seren for letting me watch and film their practice.

Extra info: Accredited rescue dogs and their handlers (which Anne and Seren are) are required to be able to find 3 articles of clothing buried 65cm deep in under 10 minutes.
In this search, the articles were not so deep for a few reasons: time constraint in setting up the practice, less time waiting for the scent of the articles to reach the surface, the wind was very light (the dogs require the wind to pick up the scent), conducting easier searches once in a while helps encourage the dog with positive reinforcement by doing well, and probably a few more reasons I can’t remember right now.
During this search, the wind was very light and coming from the top right, which is partly why Seren took a bit longer to find the last article (on lookers left) since she didn’t get to spend much time downwind of it.

Avalanche dogs are unpaid volunteers, so please donate to help them with their training :)

Cruising 7th Heaven in the Sun

24hr Snow 0 cm 7 Day Snow 21 cm Snowbase 237 cm
Alpine Temp -5 °C Valley Temp 0 °C Conditions Sunny

Mt Currie and Crystal Hut

Another beautiful day to be on the mountain with lots of sunshine creating perfect visibility and warm air temperatures. Overall the snow was decent and made for some great cruising of the groomed runs. These are the days made for 7th Heaven. Some areas have gone through a melt/freeze cycle making the surface a bit hard but the majority of the time there was no problem getting an edge in.

I’m not sure about the numbers in the table above, since in my last post on Saturday I copied over ’0cm snow for 7 days’ but today it is saying 21cm? I don’t remember it snowing in between. I simply copy the values from the WB site (which was updated at 3pm) so who knows. I think at 3pm it was warmer too.

Clear Skies and Great Snow

24hr Snow 0 cm 7 Day Snow 0 cm Snowbase 244 cm
Alpine Temp 4 °C Valley Temp 3 °C Conditions Sunny

Black Tusk

This is a report from yesterday (Friday 3rd), which was an excellent sunny day with awesome snow on the majority of the mountain. While not a powder day, which is what we really want, it was the next best thing.

Top of Glacier Express

In the shade was good ‘winter’ snow – perfect for carving, while in the sun it was a bit slushy. Slushy snow is also a lot of fun, it just requires a slightly different skiing technique. I spent most of the time cruising the groomers at high speed, with my eye out for the different snow conditions and had a LOT of fun. There were some bumpy sections, but overall the runs were quite smooth.

This weekend looks like more of the same, just be aware the Peak to Valley Race is on – so some of Whistler mountain is roped off.

View from 7th Heaven

Horstman Tbar Line

Anyone know where this lean to is?

Lean to

Sunny Afternoon of Powder Skiing

24hr Snow 14 cm 7 Day Snow 62 cm Snowbase 255 cm
Alpine Temp -6 °C Valley Temp 2 °C Conditions Sunny

Dean's Adieu

I am not 100% positive but I think the face in the photo above is called Dean’s Adieu – can anyone verify?

I haven’t skied much lately :( but I managed to get up this afternoon to enjoy some powder skiing in the sun :)

Showcase Tbar

The temperatures have been a little on the warm side lately, resulting in slightly heavy snow – but at least we have been getting some. The base is now reported at over 2 and a half metres, and overall the coverage is pretty darn good.

Today the mountain was empty, at least while I was up there (after lunch), and I skied straight onto every chair. The snow on the Blackcomb glacier and in the Crystal zone was great, as mentioned a little heavy but still a lot of fun. Apparently the morning was a bit foggy with only patches of sunshine, but by the time I got up there the sun was out in full force and the visibility was perfect. Definitely a fun day, especially when it’s been close to a week since my last.

A couple of photos to finish: Stupid East, Surfs Up and Double Rubble (lookers right of Surfs Up)

Stupid East

Surfs Up

Double Rubble