The next time you ski California’s Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley USA, you’ll likely see some of skiing’s best rescue canines dogging it on the summit. Don’t be fooled. The life of a patroller and his dog is anything but easy: long days of repetition, brutal weather and exhausting labor. From the human perspective, it takes an unrelenting commitment. From the four-legged view, it takes two vital components: the right attitude and one hell of a good nose.
It’s not always about hard work and training. Springtime—when the sun is out, the crowds have thinned and the avalanche risk is minimal—is the time to hang out. As with all things in the life of rescue dogs, even the downtime is an exercise in strengthening the relationship between dog and handler. Dog patrols also serve as goodwill ambassadors and they raise awareness of mountain safety. And when the dogs aren’t working, there’s no better place to snooze than on a sunny patrol-shack deck. Of course, there are interruptions in that perfect dog nap, when visitors stop by to give a quick scratch and say hello.
Images & story by Keoki Flagg
About Martis Camp
Martis Camp is a private gated community located between Truckee and North Lake Tahoe in the Martis Valley. Situated on 2,177 acres with sweeping topography, the land itself embraces the true essence of High Sierra living. A year round community, Martis Camp Club offers private ski access via the Lookout Lodge and Martis Camp Express Lift to Northstar California™ in winter and a Tom Fazio 18-hole golf course in the summer. Martis Camp Club members enjoy a vast array of amenities including the Family Barn complex with swimming, a bowling alley, art loft, movie theater, indoor basketball court, soda fountain and outdoor performance amphitheater; an 18-hole putting park; the Beach Shack on the shores of Lake Tahoe; Sporting fields and pavilions; Camp Lodge with dining venues, club day spa and fitness center and vitality pools; Folk School; Lost Library; 26 miles of private trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and a private mountain clubhouse at the base of Lookout Mountain.