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West coast avalanche dogs travel to Utah to for rescue training

Fox 13
Picture of an avalanche rescue dog in training

Groups of avalanche dogs from the West coast are coming to Utah to learn lifesaving skills for avalanche rescue missions.

As backcountry users increase, the danger of avalanches in Utah remains the same. The Wasatch Backcountry Rescue’s Avalanche Dog Training school in Little Cottonwood Canyon is bringing in several dog teams from locations including California, Idaho, and Colorado to join the teams already in Utah.

Andy Van Houten, President of the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, says these avalanche dogs are a great tool for the rescue team and have proven to be valuable over the last several years. Van Houten, alongside many other staff members at the WBR, puts dogs through a multitude of training sessions. One of those sessions is a “search and rescue” where trainers are buried under the snow and the dogs try to find them.

After being put through the proper ground and air rescue training, these avalanche dogs will be ready to save lives in an actual emergency.