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

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Newsletter

December 2008

The Next TNSAR meeting is Monday, December 1st at 6:30pm at the Granlibakken Hut. Please bring sacrificial skis to burn in a SnowGods bonfire. We will be tempting fate by blatantly trying to bribe whatever powers may be in charge of precipitating those beloved little ice flakes. Smoke machines and monster truck sound systems are welcome. Mad Max attire is recommended.


No Fear Of Falling through the ice at Incline Lake this winter. Not sure if anyone else noticed (I didn’t until a few days ago), but Incline Lake is no longer wet. The Reno Gazette Journal had this photo on file but clearly it was not taken this year. It looks like a real estate brochure for fly fishing resorts…. Not Familiar with this little body of mud? Incline Lake (actually a reservoir) has long been a private little patch of real estate along Mt. Rose highway and at the base of a particularly popular little powder shot a few ridges south of the Mt. Rose radio towers. Not sure if there is an official name for this run but most people call it…”Wow that was awesome, let’s do another lap…” Once owned by George Whittell of Thunderbird Lodge fame and fortune, Incline Lake has always been private and has always been regularly trespassed by backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers. There is a dam along the south shore of the reservoir and that has always been the safe route to access the north-facing chutes and trees that make this spot so popular. (As my photo clearly shows, you’ll need rock skis right now.) Usually mid-winter some brave soul (insert smart-ass comment here) skies directly across the lake thus opening a more direct and quicker route to the secret stash. I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I’m ALWAYS a little bit nervous skiing across frozen bodies of water, especially on the west coast. I’ve even been a little nervous winter camping in Northern Minnesota while skiing across frozen lakes at 20 degrees below zero, but that’s another story. I’ve never heard any stories about skiers falling through the ice at Incline Lake but rest assured it won’t happen this year. Thar ain’t no agua! According to Forest Service Public Affairs Specialist Rex Norman, the lake water was slowly released this summer in order to make repairs to the dam. Once the repairs are complete water levels will most likely go back up to normal, probably sometime next summer. As for ‘legal’ access, Mr. Norman assured me that the entire purchase, some 750 acres including 5 acres that will be under Incline Village General Improvement District jurisdiction, will become pleasantly public. Plans are in the works for improved winter access, cross-country ski trails, summer hiking trails, and interpretive displays. Sled-Heads may want to get involved with the public input process as the environmental review process is still on-going to determine whether or not snowmobiles will be part of the lake’s future. Legal snowmobiles, that is.

No Guarantee that there will be space available in the upcoming Winter Sports Symposium at the Resort at Squaw Creek. At this very moment in time, which by the way is not the same moment that you are reading this sentence, there is still space available. However, that could change before you get to the end of this sentence. You may already be too late. Please see last month’s newsletter for elaboration.

Safety Third! OK, altogether on this one, please collectively knock your TNSAR knuckles on wood…hate to even bring this up but we have been extremely lucky with our safety record to date. Though I have broken several pairs of reading glasses and ski poles on trainings over the years, we as a group have maintained a laudatory safety track record, both on searches and trainings. This was brought home recently at a training Jimmy Smith did for loading and unloading the snowcat on the new truck. James was extremely methodical about safety procedures while working around the cat and the truck. And while Jimmy’s training was almost painfully safe at some points, that type of safety process is exactly what we need to continue as we move further into the 2008/2009 season. Practice safety even if it hurts. I don’t know about you, but one of my worst nightmares is to have a search scenario where one of the searchers is injured while we are supposed to be out looking for someone else who is lost and/or injured. I think it is bordering on the ridiculous to think that this scenario will never happen, but if we continue to be cautious, ever-vigilant, and hyper-prepared perhaps we can strive to indefinitely postpone the inevitable. Likewise, we can always attend trainings that specifically address safety issues. Chris McConnell’s upcoming training is a great place to start. See you there!

Off to go skateboarding in the dark, without a helmet----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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