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


March 2013

Come on out to the Granlibaaken Ski Hut for the April 1st general meeting. The self congratulatory remarks and back slapping that started on the afternoon of March 3rd will continue. The first wave goes off at 6:30PM. 

The Great Ski Race
Strong work crew….we did it again!  Another successful TGSR.  The fact the race was cancelled last year made me look at it a little differently this year.  I think lots of others appreciated it a little bit more too.  My deal for the last few years has been the road crossing.  Just a strip of snow across a twenty foot section of pavement, right?  Bob Blount brings his front loader over in the morning to move snow and shape the crossing.  Then myself and Bill Quesnel, another neighborhood volunteer, hold car traffic for the skiers, rake the crossing after the cars drive over it and encourage skiers as they come through.  No big whoop.

The endless parade of "thank you's" usually start after the really fast and out of breath skiers come through.  I believe I saw 606 racers come through the crossing and I bet we got at least 300 thank you's.  There were a few first time racers that thought skiing across the road was cooler than polar bear toe nails. "Oh my gosh…this is so awesome!!!" All this appreciation has a cumulative effect and by the time the 79 year old gentleman came through, my face hurt from smiling so hard. 

I really appreciate the elite athletes that ski this race but after this year I'm convinced the heart and soul of this race are the kids, first time racers, blind skiers and their guides, anyone wearing a costume, the skiers that fall down a lot, senior skiers, locals on ancient gear, anyone with a bota bag, families that ski it together, people that have skied it twenty times, and finally, the very pregnant lady and her husband who dragged a sled full of "pregnancy supplies" for the entire 30km (what's in there? Pizza? Nutella? Sardines?).  So let's hear it for the dilettantes, amateurs and hackers!  You make The Great Ski Race the greatest!

Team Member TGSR Results
The team had a strong field entered in both the men's and women's division this year.  Michael LeFrancois took top men's honors completing the course in 2:01:00 which earned him 45th place. Jonathan Laine took second place on the team with a time of 2:02:23 and 51st place.  Joe Pace was right behind him in 2:02:45 and 54th place.  TGSR Grand Poobah Doug Read tore up the course in 2:07:13 which was good enough for 80th place.  Steve Kehler finished in 2:08:29 and 90th place.  John Pang skied the course in 2:09:40 and earned 97th place.  Other males:  Jim Granger 2:11:32 (104th), Paul Kitano 2:25:36 (157th), Bernie Mellor 2:28:22 (181st), Gerald Rockwell 2:30:20 (195th), Jesse Shirley 2:32:13 (208th), Scott Meyer 3:08:26 (367th) and  Paul Honeywell 3:11:52 (379th).

Marty Schoonmaker was the first team womens' finisher.  She skied the course in 2:20:42 which was good for 138th place.  Monika Nesetrilova wasn't far behind in 2:25:19 (153rd place).  Megan Shirley raced it in 2:28:52 which earned her 184th place.  Sara Carbonari skied it in 2:36:13 and earned 237th place.  Karen Honeywell skied it in 3:15:37 and earned 391st place.

Other notable finishers were J.C. Schoonmaker and Cooper Honeywell.  J.C. completed the course in 2:07:42. He earned first place in the boys' 12-13 year division and was 85th overall.  Cooper also had a strong performance skiing the course in 3:11:36 and second place in the boys 8-9 division and 378th overall.

March 12th (Tuesday) - Nighttime Bivy Options
    Where: In the Mountains
    When: 7pm Team Garage
    Contact: Jeb Mirczak (use current callout list for phone #)
Jeb will be leading a training on different bivy techniques and keeping warm on an overnight search. This will be an overnight training with a short hike into a location. Perfect for the first timer or new member with new backcountry skiing skills.

March 16th (Saturday) - Benson Hut Evacuation
    Where: Benson Hut
    When: 8:00am Team Garage
    Contact: Scott Meyer (use current callout list for phone #)
Join Scott for an all encompassing team effort to simulate a situation where a critically injured individual requires evacuation from The Benson Hut and helicopters are not an option. Skiers, snowmobiles and the snowcat will combine in a multi-disciplinary scenario involving route finding, first aid, patient packaging, gps use, radio use and avi awareness. Plan for a full day!

Paige Meadows Search
On February 14th the team was called our for what was initially reported as a sixteen year old girl who was lost in Paige Meadows.  As it turns out it was actually an "elderly woman (with her elderly cell phone) and her elderly dog".  Earlier in the day, they left Woodview Ct. and had taken the groomed trail from Granlibakken to Paige Meadows.  Once at Silver Tip Road, realizing she was somewhat turned around, she saw a FedEx driver and asked which way she needed to go to get back to Granlibakken.  The driver said she needed to go north.  She instead headed west, missing the groomed trail, and continued out into Paige Meadows.  Once she reached the Tahoe Rim Trail again she realized she was lost and called 9-1-1.  A TNSAR searcher was able to speak to her on the phone and had a strong idea where she was.  Two skiers and a snowmobiler headed out and found her in about an hour.  The missing person and her dog were found safe and in good condition and transported out.

The Little Snowboarder That Could
At approximately 2PM on February 20th Squaw Valley Ski Patrol was notified of a lost snowboarder.  Two patrollers (who also happen to be TNSAR ski team members) gave pursuit and quickly found his track at the base of Silverado chair.  The snowboard track turned into a boot track which was followed until it was no longer visible on the windblown and cliffy ridge near Silver Peak.  At this point, Squaw patrol transitioned the search to TNSAR and directed the team to the area in the Pole Creek drainage near Flat Top Rock.

As luck would have it, two TNSAR skiers and the TNSAR mascot, Wheeler The Beagle, had spent the day skiing in the Pole Creek drainage and were at the Bradley Hut.  One of them had brought their pager and around 5:15PM were alerted to the missing snowboarder.  Around this time, skiers, snowmobilers and the snowcat launched from the Pole Creek trailhead and made their way up to the Bradley Hut.  Meanwhile, the two searchers from the Bradley Hut, skeptical that a snowboarder from Squaw Valley would ever be able to make it into Pole Creek drainage, skied along the head of the Pole Creek Drainage.  Well guess what?  As they worked their way towards Silver Peak it wasn't too long before they crossed a snowboard track.  They yelled for the MP and he responded immediately.   When they found him he was scared, wet and exhausted.  He complained of sore ribs, sore back and a possible concussion, explaining that he had hucked himself off of several cliffs in his effort to get un-lost.  Apparently he thought the route he was taking would somehow put him back in Shirley Canyon.
The MP was deemed to be suitable to transport himself so the four (don't forget Wheeler) contacted the rest of the ski team who intercepted their track and met up with them shortly after.   Fortunately, the snowmobiles had positioned themselves about a mile off of Pole Creek Rd. to assist the team's exit.  The snowmobiles and skiers met about an hour later where the MP was handed off to the snowcat.  The MP and most of the skiers were taken back to the trailhead.  Paul, Doug and Wheeler returned to the Bradley Hut where they were greeted with a heros' welcome from the rest of the hut.

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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