Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Skiing While Canine

Had a new experience this weekend while skiing at Alpine Meadows. My wife and I had just taken the Sherwood Express chair for the first time, and as we paused to put on our pole straps and such, I noticed a very nice looking dog standing off to the side. Then I noticed that it was wearing a little bib of some sort, which I recognized as being for the Ski Patrol.

Then I looked away for a few moments, and next thing I knew I felt something warm rubbing against my leg. The dog had come for a little love. It started making its way around the skiers, getting lots of attention, then walked over to my wife, who patted him on the head nicely, prompting him to sit right down on her ski.

We chuckled as several kids came over to pat the dog, then decided we really wanted to go ski. So my wife tried to convince the dog that she was going to leave (no reaction). So she started to slide her ski out from under him, at which point he just lay down across both skis. Much hilarity all around, as now more skiers come to admire the dog and his captive. (Forgive the picture quality; my little old mobile phone has a terrible camera.)

Eventually a couple of the Ski Patrol humans took pity and called the dog over, but it took a lot of prompting. Apparently Trevor (or Mr. T) does this sort of thing fairly often. He gives the impression of having been there a long time, and is very sweet and good-natured.

In any case, I can now tease my wife about having been stopped by the Ski Patrol. And a quick visit to Google reveals that there are ten ski patrol dogs at Alpine, and they have their own trading cards! Here's a video about the dogs and their training, and lots of fine portraits on Flickr.

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