How These Dogs Are Trained to Save Lives in an Avalanche

by Jason Armesto
Feb 18, 2019 8:30 AM ET

Marshall Thomson is a ski patroller in Crested Butte, Colo., but drove to southeast Nebraska to pick up his dog from a breeder at just 8 weeks old. The 12-hour ride back took 36 hours when Thomson and his puppy encountered what he describes as the worst snowstorm he’s seen in his life. 

“We were cuddled up in a sleeping bag in the middle of the highway,” Thomson said. “I didn’t know if she’d ever go out in snow after that storm because it was pretty brutal.

Thomson named the puppy Skadi after the Nordic goddess of winter as a nod to the blizzard. Today, they are one of five teams attending the WBR school thanks to a scholarship from Subaru, a partner of the National Ski Patrol, a non-profit founded in 1938 that has more than 30,000 ski patrollers working to keeping people safe on mountains across the country. 

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