Established in 1976 in response to the death of a boy lost in a blizzard, the TNSAR two-pronged goal is to conduct fast, safe rescues and to educate the public on winter safety. It is based in the North Lake Tahoe/Truckee area.
The Nordic Team consists of a wide variety of individuals including EMT’s, emergency room nurses, firefighters, professional ski patrollers, paramedics, and MD’s. The level of medical, mountain, and skiing skills among the members is very high. In addition to the search and rescues, about 100 people handle Team committees such as training, dispatch, education, equipment upkeep, bookkeeping, the monthly newsletter, and the organization of The Great Ski Race® (the main fund raising event for the Team).
The Nordic Team is called out many times each year responding to a variety of search and rescue operations. Wandering children, lost hunters, urban disasters, mud slides, avalanches, ski lift evacuations, downed aircraft, and snow-bound shepherds: these are but a sampling of the incidents that the Team has responded to throughout California and Nevada.
No two “callouts” are ever the same. The majority of the Team’s responses, however, are for individuals lost in the winter wilderness of the Sierra Nevada. To date, the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team has located over 300 individuals; 60% of these have been patrons of a ski resort that have strayed from the area’s boundary into unfamiliar and rugged mountain terrain.
TNSC has also produced a free video called Winter Aware. The goal of the video is to teach 14-18 year old kids essential winter mountain survival skills. The video has been incorporated into TNSAR’s education program and is shown to Junior and Senior level high school students in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.