GIRDWOOD -- For the dogs of Alyeska's Patrol Avalanche Canine (PAC) program, the tough job of saving lives is "kind of a big game," says Alyeska Resort ski patroller and dog handler Brian McGorry.
Not that they don't take it seriously -- the dogs train regularly to find and recover skiers and snowboarders buried by avalanches. They just don't know how important their task is.
"Their entire existence is kind of a big game," McGorry said. "The more fun you make the game, the better they do their job."
This is apparent in the way the dogs attack that job. When it's time to do a recovery, they bark excitedly, bounding up to snow caves where "subjects" -- staged avalanche victims -- are buried. They claw at the snow until they make a hole large enough for their ...