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

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Newsletter

February 2009

Cursed Dirt doth punish mine eyes! Yes, it is true. Here in the blessed banana belt whole swaths of tierra firma have blossomed in my front yard. And I know, I just know, that Old Man Winter’s arch nemeses, those blimey bulbs, are poised to sprout any day now…don’t let it happen to you. Shovel what little snow there is onto your gardens. Use an ice pick if need be. Freeze those vegetative buggers for at least two more months, and get thee to the Granlibakken Hut, Monday, February 2nd, 6:30pm, to commiserate with fellow bulb haters and TNSAR members.

GSR 2009 The weather be damned, the 2009 Great Ski Race is rapidly approaching and much still needs to be done to make this fundraiser a success. If you’re not already on a committee or two, now is the time to pitch in and get involved. Not sure where to begin? Chris McConnell has graciously offered to be your GSR Volunteer Guide. Call him (546-4235), email him (mcspeed@gmail.com), text him, twitter him (you first…just make sure it is consensual). Seriously folks, get a hold of Chris and he will gladly plug all you square pegs into round holes.

Pack It In Pack It Out In today’s age of electronic overload it is getting harder and harder to discern which products are good and which are garbage. You be the judge: SPOT, Inc., has the “…world’s first satellite GPS messenger…” on the market. This hand-held unit combines a GPS receiver and a satellite transmitter so that users can track their wilderness treks and send emergency 911 alerts if they get blisters. It is cheaper and lighter than a PLB (personal locator beacon) but cannot be programmed to notify Starbucks or Dominoes if you’re in a bind. Also, the emergency 911 alerts do not work unless you have paid for a $99 annual subscription. Supposedly it works around the globe, though I’m not sure what I could do if I got a call from a 911 operator in Sri Lanka…….. Pieps has recently put out the iprobe, a $200 carbon-fiber electronic avalanche probe. The iprobe contains a receiver that alerts the user when the probe comes within 10 feet of a buried avalanche transceiver. Supposedly it works with all transceivers on all frequencies. Not sure if this is putting the cart before the horse or not, but I always thought probes came out after transceivers in an avalanche scenario. Either way, this unit could be helpful for those who wander around without a transceiver. But if you’re without a transceiver, why would you carry a probe and why would you be out in the backcountry unprepared in the first place……? Petzl, ubiquitous in the headlamp market, has come out with the Ultra Headlamp. With a mere $430 price tag (not including tax or shipping), this headlamp is an absolute must have for anyone not affected by the celestial economic implosion. They do have data that proves that this headlamp is really bright……. I’m not sure the same can be said about those who choose to purchase it. But I’m not the judge, you are!

Back to Basics Perhaps it’s time to slow down (my New Year’s resolution for the last 10 years running, by the way. So I’m not preaching, I’m still practicing). Maybe we’d all be better off if we focused on the essential things in life instead of the extra-sensory. Maybe we’d be better off if we actually went bowling rather than staying at home waving around some weird electronic channel changer thingy at an equally weird wii thingy. Maybe we’d be better off if we all powered down for a little while. Basics. Can you sharpen a pencil? Then you can write a poem. Can your fingers make a fist? Then you can hold someone’s hand. Can you hum a tune? Then you can sing a song. Can you wiggle your toes? Then you can dance. Can you sit still and watch the clouds? Then you, too, can go back to the basics. Maybe we should all pack the 10 essentials instead of all the extra batteries to power our gadgets. Remember the 10 essentials? Maybe we should rely on our skills and some simple tools that really have the potential to actually save our lives. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I have yet to hear of someone starting a fire with their cell phone.

Encounters at The End of the World. Anyone seen Werner Herzog’s latest film? Check it out. It is a view of Antarctica you’ve likely not seen before. My favorite scene is of a confused Adelie Penguin who is convinced that he is going in the right direction, which just happens to be 180 degrees in the wrong direction. As Mr. Herzog points out, no matter how many times researchers turned this little fellow around he immediately reverses the correct direction and waddles off the wrong way. The last shot in this sequence is the camera focusing in on the backside of the little waddler and then panning out to show the frozen landscape he is entering. It is sure death for the little dude and a little snippet of cinematographic brilliance. I couldn’t help but be reminded of those soggy skiers and snowboarders who wander westward off the Sierra crest toward Sacramento. No, this is not sure death, but no matter what, these dudes cannot be convinced that they are going in the wrong direction nor can they be convinced to stop. Very much unlike our fourth graders, who know exactly what to do…STOP. Once again, TNSAR’s hugely successful Hug-A-Tree program comes to the rescue for local fourth graders. If only the adults followed suit.

Business is Bad TNSAR pagers did go off recently, twice in the past month. But hardly after I’d gotten my stuff together and was headed up the road were the dern searches cancelled. I’m pretty sure that our business is the only business where it is better to be bad. Could be our education efforts are truly paying off……could be the weatherless winter we’re having……could be worse……the Atacama desert in Northern Chile hasn’t felt a drop of rain in the last 40 years!

Becoming One with my new
accordian----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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