Local Spotlight: Patroller and avalanche dog team on getting ready for another winter at The Basin
Published October 10, 2019
The nights are getting cooler, the snow has started falling and the 2019-20 ski and ride season is here! With nearby ski areas already open, we caught up with a Town of Silverthorne employee, who also works as a ski patroller at Arapahoe Basin in the winter. Going into his eleventh season at A-Basin, Greg Dumas shared what he does (along with his hard-working avalanche dog Sasha) to get ready for the season, and what he is most excited for this winter.
In years past, Greg has gone back to work as a patroller in time for Opening Day, but this year he is slated to start a little later, in November. However, that does not mean winter prep is on hold until then. Each October, the A-Basin ski patrol hosts a ski patrol refresher that kicks off the start to another busy winter.
“The refresher signals the start of the season,” said Greg. “It’s a big reunion where we get the team back together.” He added that living in Park County, the refresher is when he first sees good friends and co-workers he hasn’t seen since the end of last season. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get excited and do some annual training and get our heads back in the game.”
After the patrollers work on their training for the season, Greg and his avalanche dog Sasha have another training with the Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment Team (CRAD). The CRAD fall course brings together different agencies and ski areas to review obedience, drills and practice flights for the dogs and their handlers, as well as avalanche technicians.
“Sasha loves going to work. She stays active and engaged in hiking and camping all summer, but is ready to direct her energy back into work with the CRAD training and refresher.”
While the refresher and CRAD training kickoff the start of the early season, one of the things Greg looks forward to as a patroller when he starts in November is getting Montezuma Bowl ready to open. “Having an opportunity to get Zuma ready, doing ski cutting and explosives work, putting up snow fencing before it is open to the public is an incredible experience. The terrain off the Zuma Cornice is some of my favorite terrain at A-Basin.”
Looking forward to this season, Greg said he would love to have another winter like last year with all the snow. He is also excited to check out the additional glading that has been completed in the new Beavers terrain and the opportunities that have opened up for skiing and riding. “I have heard where they are working on the glading in the Beavers terrain and I’m excited to see those new runs this winter.”
In addition to opening Montezuma Bowl and further exploring The Beavers, Greg is most excited just to have another season at the Basin. “The Basin is a big family, you feel that after one year, but you really feel it after 11 years. It is a big part of me and even though our mountain has changed and grown, you definitely still feel that coming back year after year.”
Greg’s role as a bartender at the Silverthorne Pavilion slows down in the winter, giving him plenty of time to rejoin his A-Basin family. But, it won’t be long before we see him on the ski hill!