Silverton gets its first avalanche dog in decades

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Silverton gets its first avalanche dog in decades

As more people venture into backcountry, golden retriever’s role will be valuable for saving lives

Silverton gets its first avalanche dog in decades

Ryan Mason has begun to train Ed, a golden retriever, to be an avalanche recovery dog. It has been almost 50 years since the Silverton avalanche rescue team has had a dog as part of its team. “Having that dog will be a huge benefit,” said Jim Donovan, emergency manager for San Juan County. “Its been a big gap, and it will add another useful tool.”
Ed, Silverton’s avalanche rescue team’s newest member, is named after Ed LaChapelle. LaChapelle, who died in 2007, was famous for the pioneering work he did in avalanche research and forecasting. He helped develop the avalanche receiver, a standard piece of safety equipment backcountry skiers use.
Ed, Silverton’s avalanche rescue team’s newest member, is named after Ed LaChapelle. LaChapelle, who died in 2007, was famous for the pioneering work he did in avalanche research and forecasting. He helped develop the avalanche receiver, a standard piece of safety equipment backcountry skiers use.
Ryan Mason said search-and-rescue personnel sometimes put avalanche rescue dogs in bags and ski with them to a rescue area. Or, the dogs have to travel in close quarters in a helicopter. That’s why he carries Ed in a bag, to get him used to those scenarios.
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