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


January 2016

Well…things have been a little busy of late. We have actually had some searches. Maybe some of you are thinking of my poem of last month and how prophetic I was with the line:

 You know it is coming, by text or by phone, “My loved ones are out there, they didn’t come home!”

Clairvoyant? Not really…take 2 parts tourists, add 3 parts precipitation and Voila. I am sure we will hear 1st hand about the searches at the meeting Monday night but you can check them out of course ahead of time on: http://www.tahoenordicsar.com/archive/search/2015.shtml

Speaking of searches, thank you to Sherriff Dave, who on the Northstar search had the courtesy to show the team the proper technique on how to pull out a snowcat that is stuck in the snow with his truck.


Wait..are those his backup lights. That is weird. It is almost as if the snowcat is pulling him out!

Terrain Familiarization

So I mentioned before in a newsletter how important the trainings are for team members. Learning and practicing skills, getting to know who your teammates are and how they handle themselves and building camaraderie for the “big show”. Just as important however is not only knowing what to do but where the hell you are doing it. Terrain familiarization. It is one thing to look at a map. It is yet another thing to look at a topo map and study the contour lines. It is a completely different deal to be suddenly looking down over a cliff realizing you are somewhat hosed.

To that end, the snowmobilers and skiers did a joint training over in the Coldstream Canyon last month. What makes that area critical is it is primarily where skiers get lost from Sugarbowl. To that end, the Nordic skiers deployed from Sugarbowl and the snowmobilers rode in from the road just East of Donner State Park.  For the skiers coming down, there are the usual cliffs and trees and what not to be considered. For the motorized team coming in, there are other little nuances to be dealt with. Railroad tracks (and therefore trains), drainage ditches, the aforementioned cliffs, multiple turns, a big old river. Those things. It was a little tricky during the day. Add darkness, wind, snow drifting over your tracks and it will be a game changer. Nonetheless, a little heads up gives you an advantage as opposed to going in blind.

The snowmobilers adventured around to get familiar with the area and even set up our portable repeater as radio coverage can get dicey in that area. We then coordinated a rendezvous at the Lost Trails Lodge where we proceeded to tow our skiers back up to below Sugarbowl. Towing a skier up undulating terrain behind a snowmobile takes practice for both the skier being towed and the driver.

So, do the trainings and go out and see where our typical searches take place. Remember, the clock is ticking when we get the call and as important as it is to find them, we don’t want any of us putting ourselves in harm’s way.


Congratulations to Tony Sabotella who is the newest member to the Snowmobile A Team. I got to ride with Tony on our training and he seemed to know his way around both his machine and the terrain we were on. Welcome aboard.

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Here is a shout out to Tom Just who is a new member to the team this year, owner of Mountain Home Center in Truckee and an avid snowmobiler. He also attended the training in Coldstream last month. More importantly, he organized a golf tournament that was played on New Year’s Day that was held in the Prosser area. Not at Grays Crossing mind you or Old Greenwood. Nay nay. Tom set up multiple holes in the snow around the Prosser reservoir and had friends drop $20 to play. Deal was to ride ones sled from hole to hole and do the best in the frigid temps hitting your colorful ball into the snowy hole.  Luckily a warm Sierra sun kept the rest of the friends and family warm as they gathered about a bonfire for some New Years Treats and Eats. The proceeds from his event are a donation to Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. Thank you Tom!


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Winter Awareness

Don’t forget, this is the month to get involved and help out teaching the 4th graders about winter survival. We go to our local schools and teach kids hopefully how not to get lost but if they do, how not to panic and how to survive. It is as fun as you make it and the more entertaining, the better kids will remember what they learn. Join your teammates for a tasty breakfast on the team at a local venue and support our kids.


 Need I say more?

Hopefully you have been enjoying the snow as much as I have. Happy New Year to All.

Keep your tips up,









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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