VIDEO: Work-Life Balance Of Heavenly’s Avalanche Dogs

Claire Weiss |


Dogs are not only our best friends, but they also work hard in many fields! They serve as border patrollers, at the customs and security, they work as shepherds herding sheep and cows, work as therapy dogs in clinics and care facilities. It’s just to name a few.

But one of the most important dog’s “professions” is SAR and avalanche dogs. What’s crucial when it comes to saving people? It’s not only professionalism and skills of searchers, but it’s also TIME! And here nobody can compete with the dogs, neither humans, nor even most recent technologies.

Dog’s nose is home to more than 220 million olfactory receptors (humans have a measly 5 million), so four-legged rescuers can detect human scent deep beneath the surface of the snow. And they can reach human under the snow much faster.

The canine avalanche team has two equally important members: the dog and the handler. The goal is for the team to quickly locate people who have been buried by an avalanche. Quick response, thorough searching, and safety are all important elements of a response to an avalanche accident. In order for a team to have the skills necessary to safely and effectively search an avalanche site they need to develop a variety of skills.


It takes at least one year for a dog in training to be certified. A dog in training will typically begin its training at the beginning of a ski season, and then be certified for the following ski season. However, once a dog is certified, the training continues throughout their service as avalanche dogs, getting re-tested every two years.

— Northstar ski resort


Now meet Truckee, Heavenly’s avalanche dog. He’s 6 year old and he’s working hard to be in shape!


When not at work/training, Truckee likes to slide down the mountain 🙂


You can ski with the dog, climb the mountain, hunt, enjoy the nature hiking with your dog. 

Don’t have a dog yet? May be it’s time to get one.



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One thought on “VIDEO: Work-Life Balance Of Heavenly’s Avalanche Dogs

  1. It’s one of the most charming myths in skiing that dogs save people from full burial avalanche accidents. They can and the would save you if you weren’t always dead by the time they get to the debris field. It takes too long. In Europe and North America since 1960 has a dog ever found a buried person before they expired from lack of oxygen? But I appreciate them, the tradition, the myth, and every life they save.

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