Meet Shasta: Mt. Bachelor’s Newest Avalanche Rescue Dog
A 10-week-old golden retriever puppy named Shasta was just announced as the newest member to Mt. Bachelor’s avalanche rescue team.
Mt. Bachelor, located in central Oregon, is one of the largest ski resorts in the U.S. with an elevation of 9,065 feet, 360-degree views from its summit, and a vertical drop of 3,365 feet.
The adorable puppy is getting familiar with the mountain and ski resort, while greeting skiers and snowboarders. She is currently traveling with her Ski Patrol handler, Drew Clendenen, by snowmobile but will soon learn to ride the chairlift.
Shasta is the 16th dog to join the Avalanche Dog Rescue Program, which was founded in 1991. She will join three other rescue dogs – Riggins, Mango, and Banyon.
The dogs are trained to work with their handlers to find and rescue people trapped under the snow after an avalanche by using their incredible sense of smell.
“Our four-legged friends have the tremendous advantage of being able to travel at higher speeds over uneven terrain and use their heightened sense of smell to support rescue efforts led by Ski Patrol,” states Mt. Bachelor.
February storms have reportedly dropped over 85″ of snow on the mountain and it keeps snowing! Safety is the top priority for the team, so rescue dogs and Ski Patrol are on the mountain daily training and on the alert for dangerous conditions.
Shasta is just beginning her training and will spend the next year learning the ropes. By next winter, she will be fully trained and ready to help, should the need arise.
“The end goal is you have a dog that uses its nose to smell someone that could be 10 feet in the ground,” Clendenen said. “The dog is going to alert us by digging or barking … it’s all about a game.”
Learn more about the important role the team of rescue dogs play at the ski resort in the video below.