DONNELLY, Idaho -- With a good deal of new snow and warmer temperatures, the Payette Avalanche Center says avalanche danger is 'considerable' right now. That's why Saturday's rescue training at Tamarack was so important.
A beacon, search dog, and some stray equipment was all Valley County rescue crews had to go on, as they tried to find an "avalanche victim."
"The key to this whole thing is rapid recovery," said Mark Abendroth, with Tamarack Ski Patrol.
It was just training, but crews approached it like a real emergency. That's because relatively often, they're trying to find buried skiers, snowmobilers, and hunters, when seconds count.
"Yeah, it's tough," said Captain Brandon Swain with McCall Fire. "You put yourself in the place of the friends and the victims. But, you gotta just resort back to your training, knowing that you're doing the best that you can do, and you got a lot of guys around you to support you."
Adding to the reality of this training, was an actual young boy buried (safely) in this snow.
"The bottom line is, the faster we recover that person that's been covered in a slide the better their chances are for survival," said Abendroth.
"In a hole, you don't actually know how much time you have to survive, how much oxygen," said Miles Klind, who was acting as the avalanche victim. "So, when you see people that are shoveling you out, and trying to rescue you, it makes you feel really great."
Successful collaboration like this is all the more important for Valley County, with their huge expanses of backcountry, and their limited resources.
"The community up here is small," said Swain. "So, it takes a collaborative work effort to make sure that we find the people safely, and we get them out."
However, patrollers say, the best rescue is the one they don't have to make. Therefore, they recommend to just be careful and prepared in the backcountry. Take a beacon and probe and know how to use them. You can also prepare yourself by visiting the Payette Avalanche Center's website.