Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc.

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December 2006

from behind the keyboard. As you no doubt have noticed, SnowLine has a bit of a new look. Thatís my doing. I hope it is to everyoneís liking or, at the very least, I hope the new layout doesnít give anyone hives. Iím an alumni of the ďif it ainít brokeÖĒ school of thought, so I have decided to change very little with the overall design of our newsletter. I have rearranged some things with the hope of gaining more space, but Iíve left most things unchanged. Like many of you out there, I have become quite attached to this newsletter, so please let me know if this new design works or if I should be keel-hauled for messing with things.
Donít Forget
The next TNSAR general meeting of the 2006-2007 season will be 6:30pm Monday, December 11th, at the Granlibakken ski hut. Normally our meetings are held the first Monday of each month but we are moving the meeting date back one week so that folks can attend the Winter Injury Sports Medicine Symposium at the Resort at Squaw Creek. The Symposium is from 3pm to 9pm, Monday, December 4th. Please call in advance to reserve a spot 587-3769. We will resume normal operating hours in January, which reminds me that the next Team meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 1st !!!! What a way to ring in the New Year. I canít think of any place Iíd rather be and thatís the truth.
Member of the month
Last month Randall Osterhuber was recognized for so many things I would need more disk space on this computer to fit it all in. Suffice it to say, Randall has selflessly contributed to this Team for decades, and I know I can speak for everyone when I say that this Team would not be what it is today if it hadnít been for Randall and all that he has contributed. I would also like to personally thank Randall for so many years scribbling with SnowLineís #2 pencil. He set the bar so damn high it looks like fishing line strung across the Grand Canyon. I am honored to even have a chance to wear the same socks, let alone fill his shoes. Thanks RO, itíll be all that I can do to avoid speling errors.
House cleaning
Itís hard to believe that it is already December, but I can see a slight white dusting on the peaks above us, there are winter storms on the horizon, and the pagers have already gone off several times this fall. So it must go without saying that we are all ready for the 2006 winter search seasonÖright? Are we? Are you? Well if youíre still searching for your poly pro, and youíre pretty sure your beacon has fresh batteries, and youíre positive that your climbing skins are somewhere out there in the garage, and you are for sure going to tighten the screws and springs in your bindings as soon as you change the air in your tiresÖif this sounds familiar then now is the time to get your shizzle together. Go on, clean out your search pack, change those batteries, and oh lordy, is that a piece of pizza from last yearís jaunt into Whiskey Creek? Two years ago? Thereís nothing worse then trying to get prepared for the search season while the pagers are going off. Iím not preaching. Iím guilty too. Sometimes life gets in the way and we are forced to put the dishes away dirty. But seriously, the barometer is falling and itís high time to shake a leg if you havenít shaken it already.
Get thee to the bookstore
Itís not on Oprahís list but it should be; Snow Sense: A Guide For Evaluating Snow Avalanche Hazard is the paperback bible for anyone stepping foot (boot) in the wintertime backcountry. It was written by Jill A. Fredston and Doug Fesler from the Alaska Mountain Safety Center, which is one of the highest-regarded outfits for avalanche forecasting, mitigation, and hazard evaluation. According to Powder Magazine, ďJill Fredston and Doug Fesler are the best avalanche instructors in North America, period.Ē For a mere $8.95 you too can own a copy of this book. It is truly a Ďmust haveí for anyone bold enough to forsake lift lines. Written in a straight forward, no nonsense manner, Snow Sense covers all the basics of avalanche awareness. Anyone and everyone interested in learning how to travel safely in the backcountry should read this book. As they say, read it and then read it again. They make great stocking stuffers, by the way.
Other resources
that should be well within reach of your lazyboy recliner: Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper, The Avalanche Handbook by David McClung and Peter Schaerer, The ABCs of Avalanche Safety by Sue A. Ferguson and Edward R. Lachapelle, and Avalanche Safety for Skierís and Climberís by Tony Daffern. For those of us who are more experiential learners, look up Snowy Torrents, which is a multi-volume compendium of U.S. avalanche accident descriptions and analyses. Talk about armchair adventure. As avalanche.org puts it, ďThere's nothing like painlessly learning from the mistakes of others!Ē There are also many videos available including the classic Winning the Avalanche Game produced by the Utah Avalanche Center and Betsy Armstrongís and Knox Williamsís Avalanche Awareness: A Question of Balance. The bottom line: pick your poison be it video or text and freshen up your skills.
As January rapidly approaches we need to start thinking about (and signing up for) one of the most important volunteer commitments that we TNSAR members have, and that is participating in the 4th grade Winter Wilderness Survival Program. This program has been ongoing for nearly 30 years and is arguably the most successful youth education program in the Tahoe Truckee region. And it is all done with TNSAR volunteers. Each year TNSAR team members travel to 6 local area elementary schools and teach local 4th graders about what to do (and not do) in case they are ever lost in the woods. The programs starts with an interactive, all-class discussion in the school gymnasium and then smaller groups of individual classes go outside for hands-on instruction about winter survival. Itís fun, incredibly rewarding, and a great way for new TNSAR members to get involved.
Upcoming December Trainings
December 3rd --- Sunday
Where: Deep Creek
When: 8:00am garage or 8:30am Deep Creek trailhead on HWY 89
Contact: Karen Honeywell 546-8609. Karen will delve into the depths of Deep Creek and surrounding peaks. Be prepared for ANYTHING.
December 4th--- Monday
Where: Resort at Squaw Creek
When: 3:00pm to 9:00pm
Contact: 587-3769 for info and a seat
The Resort is hosting the Winter Injury Sports Medicine Symposium. The Symposium is free for TNSAR members with an OES card, and will include dinner and a raffle drawing.
December 8th & 9th --- Friday nite and Saturday
Where: Pole Creek drainage
When: 8:00am Pole Creek trailhead (Sat)
Contact: Doug Read 583-6381. Doug has a reservation for Friday night at the Bradley Hut. The training shall commence in the morning. If you can't make it to the hut Friday, meet at the Pole Creek trailhead Saturday at 8am.
December 14th --- Thursday
Where: Team garage
When: 6:30pm
Contact: Steve Hoyt 582-0550. Steve will present a short course on rescue scenarios. Be prompt!
December 16th --- Saturday
Where: Castle Peak
When: 7:30am garage or 8:15am at Wild Cherries
Contact: Steve Reynaud 587-4723. Steve will explore the Castle Peak environs and beyond.
December 18th --- Monday
Where: Team garage
When: 6:30pm
Contact: Steve Twomey 525-7280. Steve will present an evening refresher course for map and compass skills.
REMEMBER: you must have an OES card (or have started the paperwork) to participate. Pack a lunch, call the contact to RSVP, and be prepared!
Suffering from tryptophan withdrawl but ever so thankful itís all over.
----B. Wright

The goal of TNSAR is to conduct fast and safe rescues, and to help educate the public on winter safety. If you would like to help TNSAR in this cause, please use the following PayPal donate link. Thanks!

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