At this time of year it’d be easy to paint a few introductory paragraphs with colorful, well-worn weather clichés. But the mid-day sun has sweated them all out of me, and hot as I am (indeed!), I’m confident the summer’s inertia has all but puttered out. Whether the Tahoe basin’s loud and crispy mule’s ears will be snowed-over tomorrow, or weeks from now, I shan’t hazard a guess. Statistically, you know, the average date of mule ear burial is November 19, but last year’s significant October snowfall clearly demonstrates how much weather systems subscribe to probabilistic inference. We might care about when those first snows arrive, but we’ve no right to lament anything but what ultimately occurs. Wherever and whenever you are, appreciate the weather—or ignore it—those are your only two choices.
A great opportunity to duck out of the weather for a couple hours happens November 7, Monday night, at 6:30 PM—the next meeting of Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team. The meeting will be in the Granlibakken Resort’s Ski Hut. And as you’re aware, this gathering is known for generating its own unique atmosphere. November 7: rain, shine, or the dark of night!
Our intrepid leader, Russ Viehmann, forwards this dispatch on what’s new and important on the Team’s front line…
Hello Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team members and supporters. I thought it might be time for a “State of the Team” report, a brief summary of issues and events concerning our Team.
Over the last couple of months, Mark Johnson has mailed our Winter Aware DVD to all the high schools in our area and the Bay Area. Our hope is that this video, along with other educational materials included, will spark a conversation among high school students about backcountry awareness. We are always looking for more uses for our video. If you have any suggestions please let us know.
Our training committee has crunched all the data from the survey last year and has come up with a whole season worth of exciting and educational events. So far, avalanche classes, first aid training, communications classes, terrain familiarization and grueling all-day skis are in the works. Sarah Lagano is planning a two-day SAR skills seminar open to select mountain search teams. This seminar will allow TNSAR to share its 30 years of experience with other teams in the region.
The Great Ski Race has been a truly great event for the Team in the last couple of years with good weather and record attendance. The [TNSAR] Board is committed to keeping the race in its current form and is currently monitoring land-use issues at the finish. We thank the landowners for their years of support.
The Team is certainly stronger with the addition of the snowcat donated by Placer County Water Agency. This relatively new machine has served us well the last two winters and should continue to do so. Lately we have turned our attention to the towing of the snowcat. There are certain inherent risks of towing a snow cat that weighs more than the vehicle that’s doing the towing. We have been looking for some type of vehicle that can haul the cat safely and fit in the garage. We know a 1-ton 4x4 truck with at 17’ rollback/car carrier bed will fit. We are still looking for the ideal setup and could use your help. If you know of anything that might work, let the snow cat committee know.
On the national front, the Board is looking into ways to possibly help SAR teams in the south who have lost their equipment.
Thanks to Scott Edmondson for oiling the exterior of our garage, and thanks to everyone else who makes this Team the best Nordic search and rescue team there is.
Please remember to get your OES card from the powers-that-be before attending a sanctioned Team outing. Call any Board member if you’re temporarily confused as to what these “powers-that-be” might look like.
The times listed are departure times, so, it’ll be to everyone’s advantage for you to show up a little earlier. And, each training organizer
would love to know you plan on attending—call ahead, please.
The Nordic Team garage is located at 223 Fairway Drive in Tahoe City, behind the Chevron station.
November 9: Jim Coffey (583-1276) will lead an avalanche transceiver practice—the first of the season—at the Team garage, 6:30 PM.
November 13: Paul Honeywell (546-8609) will lead an ascent of Billy’s Peak at the head of the Deep Creek watershed. Billy’s Peak is named after Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team founding member Billy Dutton, who died of cancer 16 years ago. This, like the other trainings that follow, will happen whether there’s no snow, skiable snow, or non-skiable snow on the ground. Paul and crew will leave the Team garage at 7:30 AM.
November 19: Relay Peak today, with Mike Le Francois (546-7393). Relay Peak lies about 5 km east of the California/Nevada state line and 4 km southwest of Mt. Rose. Could be some good early season skiing here if the winds blow true. Leave the garage at 7:30 AM or meet at North Tahoe Beach (across the street from the Kings Beach Safeway) at 7:45.
November 29: Tonight Brian York (583-0465) will host what he’s dubbing “Technology Night.” We’ll get intimate with the tracking and navigating hardware and software the Team uses during our rescues. This will include radios, GPSs, the TOPO! software program, etc. If you have ‘em, bring your own laptop and GPS; the Team’s stuff will be there too, of course. Meet at the Squaw Valley Fire Station at 6:30 PM.
December 3: Russ Viehmann (525-6978) will lead this ski of Donner Summit’s Castle Peak. The Castle Peak area has been the stage for many Nordic Team rescues, including some epics. We’re departing the garage at 7:30 AM and picking up any stragglers at Wild Cherries Coffee House in Truckee at 8:00.
Like the behemoths coming off the Atlantic, it may be high time to start naming our own storms. I’d like to propose a name for our first major disturbance. “Arnold.”
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