An Amazing Human and Canine Team Who Work Together to Save Lives in the Colorado Snow

Great Big Story climbed the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado to speak with Hunter Mortenson, an avalanche technician at the local resort who works with a dog named Tali. Tali is part of an adorable canine squad comprised of dogs who help their humans save lives in the snow. Training for the dogs starts at a young age and certification can take up to two years, but to dogs like Tali it’s all just a game.

So the training, we start them six to nine months old, and a lot of it is just basic obedience and then we start building from obedience into actual hide-and-go-seek type games. And then we build up from there into big snow caves where we’ll bury a person almost six feet deep if we have enough snow, and then the dog will start searching, having to find where that scent’s coming up to play the game. And all they’re really looking for is that person who they think has their toy.