You would think as a Search and Rescue Team we would be pretty good at finding things that are Lost or Missing. Maybe the Snow is not Lost…… but it sure as hell is Missing! As much as I love the summers here in Tahoe, I did originally move here because I love to play in the snow. Skiing, snowmobiling, Cross Country touring, snowshoeing and good old fashioned sledding. I haven’t done much of those activities at all in the last couple of years. Especially snowshoeing. Not to say others are not. It never ceases to amaze me to see individuals walking about on the hardpacked trail to Castle Peak on snowshoes.
So…this is not looking to be the most stellar of years again. Maybe it was better in the “old daze” when you had no idea what the weather was going to do. The downside of all this new forecasting technology is that we can see the high pressure ridge building again and blocking our storms. It is almost an addiction to wake up and pull up the weather sites, read the discussion on NOAA and optimistically going to Open Snow. Everything is always just North of us or East of us or anywhere else but us.
As we move into February I am starting to worry more about summer now than winter. Come on Fabulous February and Miracle March, please don’t let us down!
And I doubt you could convince people in New England right now that this has anything to do with Global Warming. They have been hammered by “Juno” and have temps in the single digits. Negative single digits!! And tonight they have "Linus" moving in. Maybe that is our problem, we haven’t been naming our storms like they do back East.
But there was a brief point this year when we had a little snow which brings me to the point of recognizing one of the new members Todd Haferkamp. Doug Read brought this to my attention and I agree it is worth noting. First of all, for any new member to willingly go off on an overnight with the team shows a certain commitment. Or a need to be committed. When I first joined the team I endured such a night sleeping outside at the Martis Peak lookout. The night culminated with team member Tony Bochene regaling us with stories of the early days of Burning Man and squirming around naked in the mud. Hey, wait..we didn’t squirm around naked that night…back then there wasn’t mud in the winter..we actually had snow. Still, it was an entertaining night none the less with a roaring fire, stories and laughter. I recall one person even blurting out that his girlfriend was pregnant. That person is now married with 2 kids. I also remember it dipping into the single digits and as I looked at the star filled sky from my sleeping bag I realized how I would hate to be out unprepared. And we were prepared! Hell...we had brought a snowcat!! (The problem with that is it lacked any S&R markings and I still remember all the dirty looks I got from X Country skiers on that trip.)
Tony’s Imp that I Drove to Bring up Supplies
Truthfully, that was my first and only overnighter with the team. This year’s proposed trip to the Bradley hut had a somewhat different flair. Before they even arrived to said hut, a search was called out and the team members, with Doug in the lead headed back down to join in on the search. At some point along the way, Todd’s camelback or water bottle proceeded to flood his pack. At this point, it would have been easy enough to say “Hey..I am out”. Instead, Todd scoured the truck for alternate gear, proceeded to the top of Alpine and then following Doug still, dropped off the back side in the dark and snow for what they knew would be a long endeavor. That to me shows a pretty good dedication to our team.
And speaking of Doug, I have to tip my hat to him. I am always impressed on the number of searches he is involved in and the amount of effort he puts into the Great Ski Race. I’m not saying this because he was kind enough to acknowledge me for doing this Rag (thank you Doug) but for acknowledging what he does all the time for the team.. No need to “stand up” Doug, you stand tall to me. And truthfully, that sentiment goes out to many others as well. We do Member of the Year every year but it truthfully takes a team to pull off what we do and there are those who never falter, always take the call and do what it takes to save lives.
Speaking of which, thanks to all of you who have helped out with the schools and the Winter Awareness program. If you see those kids on the street, ask them what the 3 W's are. It is somewhat entertaining to see them panic to remember. However, better to panic then instead of when they are lost!
Since we have not had any searches of late, team member Dave Fenimore was kind enough to send me a little blurb of a search to entertain you all. This is good.
Missing woman unwittingly joins search party looking for herself
A group of tourists spent hours Saturday night looking for a missing woman near Iceland's Eldgja canyon, only to find her among the search party. The group was travelling through Iceland on a tour bus and stopped near the volcanic canyon in the southern highlands Saturday afternoon, reports the Icelandic news organization mbl.is. One of the women on the bus left to change her clothes and freshen up. When she came back, her bus mates didn't recognize her. Soon, there was word of a missing passenger. The woman didn't recognize the description of herself, and joined in the search. About 50 people searched the terrain by vehicles and on foot. The coast guard was even readying a helicopter to help. But the search was called off at about 3 a.m., when it became clear the missing woman was, in fact, accounted for and searching for herself.
I could see how that could happen and again we have had searches where the MP has wandered up to us to see what all the fuss was about .One time, one of our team actually picked the guy up hitch hiking on the way to the search!!
Okay, so keep thinking Snow. Do a dance, sacrifice some skis, whatever it takes. Dance in some burning skis if that is what it takes!! Would still be great to have the Great Ski Race so get on that dancing sooner than later.
On a last note, what is even rarer than catching a sight of this:
Maybe one of these? (Yes..that is Dirk on a motorized vehicle on search for Lost Runner on 12/13/14)