Photo and Story: by Jan Derks

If you love dogs you’ll want to meet Charlotte and Nuggit, the first two Avalanche-search dogs in Winter Park Resort’s new Ski Patrol “Avalanche Dogs” program. These black tail-waggers don’t know a stranger and are certified to search for anyone buried in snow up to eight feet.

Outfitted in specially-equipped red vests, Charlotte and Nuggit were introduced to the Winter Park community Sunday night at a fund-raising event at Hideaway Park Brewery.  Dog- and snow-loving attendees enthusiastically supported this new venture. Funds raised will provide search equipment to support the program.

Introducing Charlotte and Nuggit were their respective owners and handlers, Nate and Rico, Winter Park Ski Patrollers, who have long-advocated for this program. Both dogs and handlers have undergone the training necessary for certification and are as familiar with special commands as they are helicoptering in Flight for Life helicopters over avalanche terrain in search of victims.

Stay tuned.  There’s more to come on our newest members of the ski community. For more information on the program contact the Winter Park Resort Ski Patrol office.