The mountains of Vancouver Island and the Coast Range in winter are subject to avalanches and with the increase in winter recreational activities in our region, skiers, snowboarders, ice climbers, sledders and snowshoers are exposing themselves to avalanche-prone terrain more now than ever.
CVGSAR members have been certified by the Justice Institute of BC in Organized Avalanche Rescue (OAR). OAR Team Members learn the basic skills necessary to safely respond to avalanche incidents as part of an inter-agency team, including Avalanche Rescue teams from neighbouring SAR teams, forecasters from Mount Washington, avalanche rescue dog teams, and the RCMP.
The additional training that OAR Team Leaders receive include go/no-go decision making criteria, ongoing collection of weather data to provide stability assessments, and terrain management skills. Several CVGSAR members also have advanced training through the Canadian Avalanche Association’s Industry Training Program such as Level 1 or 2 Operations, and Avalanche Search and Rescue Advanced Skills.
The Island’s only avalanche rescue dog team is also a member of CVGSAR; Rory and his handler, Janet, are members of the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association and validated annually though the RCMP’s Police Dog Service’s avalanche program.