Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced it has added another certified avalanche dog to Ski Patrol – a Golden Retriever named RIO!
On Friday, March 15, Rio passed her Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment (C-RAD) search and rescue test. The test took place in the North Rim section of Vail, and simulated a real avalanche scenario with buried participants, an incident commander and bystanders. Rio had to ignore distractions, listen to her handler, and find the buried “victims” within a certain amount of time. Rio passed the test with flying colors, and is now certified to assist in avalanche rescue situations. She is handled by Arapahoe Basin Patroller Matt Norfleet. Her owners, Rob and Debbie Ware, are also Arapahoe Basin employees who have raised and trained several certified avalanche dogs.
Two more dogs are in the process of testing – one for recertification, and one to be certified for the first time. The resort is excited to expand its avalanche dog program; not only are these animals integral to the search and rescue process, but they make work even more fun for the employees.
Check out our Dropbox folder for more photos of Rio’s testing.