Wow. So for months I have been begging for news. Anything to throw into a newsletter that would be relevant and that people would read. Something of value for the members of the team to actually reflect on that wasn’t a joke or a whimsical rhyme. Now, if I truly had the so called typewriter, well, I think I would need more ribbon.
The Start: For the first time in my knowledge of the history of the official team meetings, the meeting was cancelled minutes before due to a search being called out at Alpine (supposedly it has happened before but I do not know when that was). Yours truly had his phone off and rolled into the Granlibakken hut with a new member and a member to be. It was somewhat surreal to see no one there but the door being slightly ajar. I was half expecting Ashton Kutcher to jump out to say we were Punked. I turned my phone on and a quick call to President McConnell clarified the mystery. Even more interesting was as I was explaining to the few new individuals showing up that we typically have a meeting AND libations upon which to socialize...than what shows up but cases of our favorite Sierra Nevada. I knew not who this Saint was and was even more perplexed when he informed me that he was number 303. Huh. Three Oh Three. Was this some code I was supposed to know? Turns out he was victim (Searchee?) number 303 and he had been rescued by the team in December off the backside of Alpine by Grouse Rock. Those present got to hear the search from the perspective of the missing party (did I mention appreciative party …he brought the team beer). Dave even brought his young daughter along to thank us!! Hopefully he will come back again to tell the whole team of his ordeal.
We disbanded early as there was a search going on and therefore searching to be done. The irony of the whole ordeal was guess where the team found the missing lift operator from Alpine that night? Sure enough… Grouse Rock!
The Sad: You would have to have been on the moon, and the dark side for that, to not have heard of the search for young Carson May. I personally was at the coast but might just of well have been lunar exploring when I first heard of it. As much as we train and we try, and try hard in this case, not all searches end up with happy endings. First and foremost, a big thank you goes out to everyone who searched in less than ideal weather conditions for this young man.
Not just to our team but to everyone who pitched in to help. As was told on site and even on the news, the biggest concern was the potential danger of avalanches. A surface hoar in the snow pack was causing unstable snow conditions and there was physical evidence of several slides. SAC (Sierra Avalanche Center) and our fellow teammate Steve Reynaud kept everyone up to date on the imminent dangers. One of the first rules that we learn as we join the team is that it is imperative that we don’t put any of our teammates into danger. One potential victim is bad enough let alone compounding it by our searchers getting injured as well. That being said, it is extremely frustrating to want to be able to go and do what we train for and then have to stand down. We all join the team as we share the love of the outdoors and would hope to have as many people out looking for us in the event we need saving. Many of us on the team are both parents and siblings of winter sports enthusiasts but I speak for everyone on the team when I say our hearts go out to the family of Carson.
The Foolish: Sugar Bowl once again made it into the news in the same week regarding avalanches but this time for a different reason. I guess if you sneak into closed areas and trigger a slide, you would be wise to get your proverbial butt the hell out of Dodge! But nowadays, due to our voyeuristic society, I guess it makes more sense to film it, post it to YouTube and proudly declare it was you who did it. Dude!
I’m sure you all saw it as it made ABC news, NBC news, Good Morning America, The Today Show….
Perhaps because of the severity of the situation and the emotions of the previous week, Sugar Bowl took a very dim view of what these guys did. I say these guys because he was not alone although I believe it is just he who is facing charges. I also notice in the video he is following other tracks down. Bottom line. Stay out of closed areas! Oh…and don’t post yourself doing things onto YouTube you shouldn’t being doing or have done! Just saying. However, to be honest, he is extremely lucky to be only facing a fine. It could have been far worse.
The Should Know Better: So we all have our OES cards. I keep mine in my truck. That way I will always have it in case of a search. I keep it somewhere safe. Right next to my automobile registration in my glove compartment. I am not saying it is there to afford me any leniency should I ever get asked to pull my vehicle to the side. I am not saying that I have heard of the brotherhood of law enforcement and fire fighters and paramedics and the like. Where the officer, should you be really polite and having say only slightly broken a so called rule might find it in their ever so volumous heart to only give you a warning but, it is worth a shot. That is of course if you haven’t just done a shot.
What I have never heard of is using it to your advantage in the field. Let’s say hypothetically that a team member did something like the individual mentioned above who caused the slide. That is ACCIDENTALLY strayed into a closed area. (I actually think I read that is what the snowboarder is saying now). There our pretend person is suddenly caught with his proverbial snow pants caught around his ankles. This sort of behavior can lose you one’s pass. Which is exactly what the patroller was doing…in this totally make believe scenario. Grabbing passes. At this point you would think our individual would be possibly getting down Wright religious. Would one toss out the old “Hey ...I am on Search and Rescue!!!” Or “I followed these offenders in here to insure their safety” or maybe, just maybe “Hey…you know me…I am on the team too” Of course it hard to say as I am sure it would NEVER happen.
The Racy: TGSR (The Great Ski Race) is coming up and although it probably appears to the public that it is a seamless event we throw together, we all know it takes a lot of work on our part to make it happen. It also takes a lot of behind the scene meetings to organize the dotting of the T's and crossing of the I's. These can take up endless hours of boring discussions as we try to remember just how the heck we used to do this. Thank you so much to Brenda for livening up the meeting with her unveiling of the new logo for the branding of The Great Ski Race.
Wait….did you think I was really going to share that picture of the First Lady? Let’s just say..you had to be there!
Check out the archive of searches on the website! We have been busy. Keep your packs packed and your gear ready!
Hoping for more snow and less rain from this point out,
Hoyt ~Over and Out~