The Winter Rescue Team in Grand County is a group of expert winter recreationalists and professionals who train and work closely with Grand County SAR. While several members of the team are also members of GCSAR, many are not. The team works under the direction of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Search and Rescue.
When GCSAR is called to a rescue high in the mountains during the winter, the SAR Officer-in-Charge requests dispatch to call out the Winter Rescue Team. A Hasty Team responds directly while other members assist GCSAR in loading the team’s rescue equipment which is stored at the Grand County Emergency Operations Center.
During the winter months, GCSAR keeps tracks on one if its Polaris Rangers. Two snowmobiles are also stored at the EOC.
Winter Rescue Team's Beginnings
In January 1992, a group of local avid winter sports enthusiasts started the Winter Rescue Team, meeting regularly during the winter months to train. Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR) had Incident Command responsibilities. GCSAR and the Winter Rescue Team hold joint training sessions in the mountains, working on pre-planned rescues and probe line exercises.
Backcountry Safety Tips:
Anyone traveling in the backcountry should:
Take an avalanche awareness course
Carry a probe, shovel and basic emergency equipment
Wear an avalanche beacon and know how to use it
Know the current weather and snow conditions
Expose only one person at a time on any treacherous slopes
It takes time for help to reach the mountains. The members of your party are the only people close enough to reach an avalanche victim in those first few golden minutes.