Sierra Avalanche Dogs Inc. is a 501 C-3 non-profit initiated in the 2011/12 ski season. Our purpose is to fund the maintenance and training of the Avalanche Rescue Dog Teams at Sierra At Tahoe. Our Dog Teams are trained to a high level of competence, in both dog and handler, increasing the potential for live recovery of humans in the event of an avalanche incident. Our program is structured on the Switzerland Standards for Avalanche Rescue Dog Training. We provide avalanche awareness through education at local schools and public relations.

The Avalanche Rescue Dog program at Sierra was initiated in 1997-98 with Bob Schults and his dog Sirius taking the initiative. Through the next 4 years the program expanded with the addition of 2 dogs: Keebah and Rush-To. These dogs were the heart of the program for many years and their contributions were exceptional.

With the addition of Cruiser in 2005/06, the program continued to evolve. Cruiser was trained to the Canadian Standard prior to coming to Sierra. While at Sierra he was sent to an extensive week long school on Swiss Standards, which brought an invigorated focus and new knowledge to the program. Since then, Cruiser’s pup Khuno has also completed the week long Swiss program. The Swiss 4 phase progression remains the basis for the Avalanche Rescue Dog training at Sierra.

During the 2014-2015 season, both Kopa and Hunter were able to attend the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue (WBR) International Avalanche Dog School in Alta, UT. The two dogs had an intense and successful week of Avalanche Rescue training. They and their handlers brought fresh ideas, skills, and knowledge back to Sierra with them.

Currently, Sierra has three Mission Ready Avalanche Dogs. Khuno has been certified Mission Ready since 2010. Kopa passed his Mission Ready Evaluation in 2012/13. Last season, 2014/15, Khuno's son, Hunter, became the 3rd Mission Ready Dog at Sierra. This season, Spooner the puppy will begin his training. With continued support Sierra Avalanche Dogs Inc. will be able to maintain the history of highly trained and committed Avalanche Rescue Dog Teams.