Vail mountain rescue group: backcountry search and rescue

Nov 8, 2018 -- Posted by : TV8

The snow is starting to fall and the lifts are starting to turn. With ski season underway it is easy to get wrapped up in the fun of the mountains, but we need to be mindful of how dangerous the mountains are when not properly prepared.

Vail Mountain Rescue is a great resource for mountain lovers who want to stay safe while exploring the lands we love. Every Monday morning Good Morning Vail has the pleasure of hosting Dan Smith, member of Vail Mountain Rescue, to help us stay safe, up-to-date, and informed about how to safely enjoy the area.

“We are the unpaid part of the sheriff's office,” says Dan Smith, “If you get in trouble in the woods, and we define the woods as either the woods or 25 yards off a highway, we are the people who are going to come get you.

“We share that jurisdiction with the fire departments as well, but the further off the road you are the more likely you're gonna see us. We also do some urban searches, and we can provide manpower for various law enforcements.

“We've done a couple of jobs with the FBI. From now and again they need to get in the woods and they don't know snow machines, and they don't know how to ride them either, so we take them in. So we do pretty much all hazards, plane crashes, lost people lost skiers, lost hikers, lost hunters, snowmobiles that hit solid objects, or other snowmobiles. You name it we do it we do it.”

Areas as close as 25 yards off the highway are considered to be woods because not all accidents happen on mountain or in the back country. “Your backyard cannot be a whole lot different sometimes,” says Smith.


Vail Mountain Rescue regularly goes above and beyond their mission to provide search and rescue services.  They also provide public education on backcountry safety and are involved in community events.  On Veterans Day, they will be participating in a memorial service honoring those who lost their lives in the line of duty, including fire, police, EMS, or any other forms of service.  The public is invited to attend the event at Edwards’ Freedom Park on Nov. 11 at 11 A.M.

If you want to learn more about Vail Mountain Rescue, go to where you can also donate to help support an organization whose mission is to keep us safe.



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