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Pagers went off last week for a search in Paige Meadows. Sure it was called off a few minutes later but it's a step in the right direction…I guess. Not that I want anyone to get lost but I felt like a callout in January was a step toward a return to normalcy for us here in the Sierra Nevada. This last storm (biggest in the last thirteen months, I believe) has hopefully opened the door to more storms and ended this weird, pseudo-winter purgatory we've been experiencing. Folks have been getting creative with their adventures due to the lack of snow. Doug Read showed me some photos at the last general meeting of his posse nordic skiing on a frozen Feather River up near Portola. I saw pictures on Alpenglow's Facebook page of people skate skiing down in Stead, Nevada. I heard stand up paddle boarding on the lake was glassy and outstanding. Lots of people loaded up their mountain bikes and went to the foothills or the Reno area. Many (including me) have packed up the truck and driven long distances to ranges far afield (Tetons, Wallowas and Wasatch to name a few) in the name of chasing powder. But I'm optimistic the days of idle snowblowers, laid off lift ops and dusty skis are gone.
Here's to could troughs off the West Coast and low pressure systems in the Gulf Of Alaska and may it return us to the heady days of early morning bomb blasts, skinning by headlamp, ice beards, Ski-gees and tailgate beers after a long day in the backcountry!!!
The Great Ski Race
We're about a month out from the Biggest Nordic Ski Race West Of The Mississippi and things have begun to shape up nicely. All of the different pieces are being moved into place and, as I mentioned above, the long term forecasts (for what they're worth) are positive for the storm door remaining open and more snow deliveries on the way. If for some crazy reason you don't have a role in this most important event, now is the time to take action. You can still ski the race and help out. There are many jobs you can help out with before the race (parking in Tahoe City) or after (finish area break down/clean up) if you would like to participate in the race.
This is a great community event and I always have a great feeling of satisfaction at the end. I can't tell you how many people ski through the road crossing and take the time to thank those of us who maintain this part of the course. I would guess at least one hundred thank yous. My favorite skiers are the ones who are giggling with joy when the ski across the paved road. For some people this twenty foot section of the course is just the coolest thing ever. And that's a big part of the reason we do this folks….to put on a really fun, nordic centered event that brings the North Tahoe/Truckee community together and reminds us our common threads and why we all live in the beautiful Sierra Nevada.
February 6th (Thursday): Anatomy Of A Search
Where: TCPUD Board Room
When: 6pm TCPUD Board Room
Contact: Dirk Schoonmaker (use current callout list for phone #)
6-8pm at the TC PUD Board Room. We will outline a search- from person being lost to person being recovered, and what happens after a search is over (CISD, media, etc.). It will cover not only what TNSAR does, but what other agencies do, as well. All TNSAR members, team members, deputies are welcome.
March 7th (Friday): Snowmobile Avalanche Awareness
When: 6:30pm TBD
Contact: Chris McConnell (use current callout list for phone #)
The Sierra Avalanche Center will be providing an avalanche education course specific to snowmobile users in avalanche terrain. The class will consist of an evening classroom session followed the next day by a full day field session. 3/7 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm classroom session, 3/8 - 8am to 4pm field session. TNSAR has secured 7 spots for this course. A team riders will receive priority. Please RSVP ASAP to Chris McConnell.
March 21st (Friday) -- AIARE Avalanche Level 1 Course (3/21-3/23)
Where: Donner Summit
When: 8am TBA
Contact: Steve Reynaud (use current callout list for phone #)
Pre registration required to attend this course. TNSAR will be hosting a AIARE L1 Avalanche Course March 21-23. The course is open to all team members with priority being given to A and B team members. 14 spots available. Contact Steve Reynaud to register for course.
Pooping Dog As Compass
You read that right. This is what it's come to in the newsletter. No search reports. Just a link to a story about how dogs poop along the magnetic field. You're welcome.
Tough Guy Of The Highest Order
On January 17th, Hiroo Onoda died in Tokyo at the age of 91. Mr. Onoda was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II and was stationed in an island in the Phillippines. In 1945, as Allied forces closed in, the last order he received was to stay on the island and fight. A second lieutenant trained in guerilla tactics, Mr. Onoda and three enlisted men built bamboo huts and raided local villages for food supplies. In the ensuing 29 years, Mr. Onoda would take the ideals of duty, honor and persistence to another level.