A Day in the Life of Ava!

March 23rd is National Puppy Day and to celebrate, we’re giving you a special look into the daily life of our avalanche puppy Ava! Ava joined the Snowbowl family in the fall of 2016 with her handler, Hailey, a longtime ski patroller. For the last two winters, we’ve followed her avalanche training journey and enjoyed every minute of having her on the mountain!

Ava the avalanche dog!

Ava is ready for work with a smile on her face!

Ava might seem like your average adorable puppy, but she has many hidden talents. Throughout her avalanche training, she’s acquired the essential skills to search for and rescue a human in the snow. We’ve never had to use her skills in an emergency situation here at Snowbowl, although having her around makes everyone safer!

Training is the most important part of any avalanche dog’s life. Ava’s first winter was dedicated to learning the fundamentals of search and rescue alongside Hailey. The two played many rounds of “hide and seek” over the year, which helped train Ava to search for human scent. After a successful search, Ava was always rewarded with a round of “tug of war”–her favorite game! This allows Ava to associate searching with high value praise and play.


See Ava in action around the mountain!

Ava has worked alongside Hailey most days of the week this winter. The duo is often seen around the mountain helping to keep our visitors safe, happy, and having fun! Hailey continues to train Ava to search and dig, but they also love to play. Ava still loves “tug of war!”

While it might seem like Ava is a seasoned professional by now, Hailey is determined to give her partner as much training as possible. The two will cross train with Arizona Search and Rescue this summer. Snowbowl will miss its favorite avalanche dog while she’s gone, but we’re happy to see her learning more as she grows. Happy National Puppy Day from Ava to your furriest friend!