Lee Canyon has a new member on its team who will help find skiers and snowboarders who get hurt or lost in the area during the busy winter season. The resort has acquired its first ever avalanche rescue dog.
The 1-year-old black Labrador’s name is Lida, and her title is Ski Patrol Avalanche Rescue Dog.
“It’s fun to bring your dog to work,” according to Michelle French, a handler. “Who wouldn’t want to do that?
French said her and Lida started training together last summer with a simple game of hide and seek. French says Lida has come a long way since that time.
For example, during a demonstration at Lee Canyon Monday, it just took seconds for Lida to find a person submerged two feet in the snow.
“Her nose went down; her tail went up — that tells me she’s locked in on something, French said. “You kind of saw her go left, and then she came right back around, so I didn’t tell her which way to go at all.”
Lida uses her sense of smell to find her target, and then she alerts her handler by digging and barking. French said she also trained Lida to ride on her back while she’s on skis. French says the maneuver allows them to move around quicker.
The dog has also learned how to walk in between her handler’s skis to protect herself from other skiers and snowboarders. 8 News NOW crews captured Lida on a snowmobile, and she appeared to be comfortable.
French says obedience plays a huge role in training working dogs.
“We’re really glad to have this tool in our tool box,” French said.
The non-profit group, Bristlecone Avalanche Rescue K-9’s paid for Lida’s training. If everything goes as planned, the dog will be certified by the winter season.