Aside from the safety factor they provide, the Alpine Meadows Patrol Dogs’ “cute factor” is off the Richter scale so Alpine has found a way that guests can take the dogs home with them – sort of.
Ten Alpine Meadows Patrol Dog trading cards are now available at various locations around the resort’s base facility.
The cards’ front sides feature one of ten working dogs like Ike and Shooter. The card’s backside lists each dog’s fun facts like his or her favorite toy, preferred summertime activity, ski patrol owner, and a mountain safety tip.
Who doesn’t love the patrol dogs. To see their wispy tails waving like flags is one of the best greetings one could ever ask for at the top of Alpine Meadows.
Not only are the Alpine Meadows patrol dogs a reliable source of safety for the mountain, but they are also at the top of the list as far as friendly faces go.
Trained by their owners (all of whom are members of the resort’s professional ski patrol) for two years via Alpine Meadow’s in-house certification process, the dogs master search techniques, chair lift and snowmobile riding skills, as well as receiving rigorous endurance conditioning.
“The two-year training commitment is well worth the effort,” says Brian Slusser, Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol Manager. “Combined with their speed and endurance, the effectiveness of a dog’s sense of smell during a search and rescue operation is invaluable.”
Certification requires practice. New dog owners undergo specific training exercises; the puppies learn basic obedience and simple search technique (including hide-and-seek games when they’re young). This winter, two new puppies will join the team. Born during the spring of 2008, Luna and Ike will learn the basics and have a chance to play with their eight new co-workers: Bridger, Shooter, Lilly, Dixie, Fox, Sherman, Trevor, and Riley. They will truly learn from the big dogs.
More experienced dogs practice searching for backpacks, clothing items, and volunteers buried in snow caves; as well as learn to ride snowmobiles, chairlifts, and even fly in helicopters.
Would you like to meet them in person?
They too can be searched out and found at the top of Sherwood, Summit Six, and Lakeview chairlifts. At 4pm each day, listen closely: their cheerful barks can be heard as they gallop down the mountain after a day’s work is done.