2nd IRO WCH in Avalanche Search

When the avalanche danger in the Alps increases, as it has these days due to the continuous snowfalls, the lifesavers with the fine nose are particularly challenged. Dogs smell about a million times better than hu­mans. "Despite modern technology, an ava­lanche dog is still the most effective resource to quickly locate avalanche vic­tims," explains Claudio Bötschi, 1st Vice President of the International Search and Rescue Dog Or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on.

Regular training sessions and competitions such as a World Cham­pi­on­ship are im­por­tant to practise the operation after an ava­lanche. If a person has been buried by an avalanche, every second counts. After only 15 minutes in the snow, the chance of sur­viv­al drops rap­id­ly. In deployment, however, it is not only the performance of the dog that matters; the dog handler must also have the appropriate trai­ning.

The best team performance at this year's World Cham­pi­on­ship was shown by Jantine Boerrigter and dog Andy van Romantos Hoeve from the Netherlands. On a 12,000 square metre snowfield, three people had to be found at a depth of about two metres within half an hour. With a very good result in the search and obedience work, they secured the title. They competed against nine teams from Finland, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria. "Despite the fact that in times of COVID-19 fewer teams were able to take part in the in­ter­na­ti­o­nal contest, there was a high level of com­pe­ti­tion," explained organiser Hermann Kranz of the Rettungshunde Ver­band Österreich (RHVÖ) contentedly.

We would like to express our gratitude to the municipality of St. Le­on­hard im Pitztal, the Pitztaler Gletscherbahn and the local Tourism Association as well as family Auer from the Hotel Sturpen. Without the sup­port of these partners, the realisation of the event would not have been possible.

TirolTV report from 10.02.2022

WCH placements

  1. Jantine Boerrigter with dog Andy van Romantos Hoeve, Netherlands
  2. Kirsi Myöhänen with dog Jedi, Finland
  3. Claudio Bötschi with dog Ilai, Switzerland

Photos: Silke Hodler