The GTK9 silent auction and raffle are live through January 31. Your ticket sales and donations support the Grand Targhee Avalanche Dogs. Photo: Grand Targhee Resort

ALTA, Wyo. — The annual Powder Pigs: GTK9 Avalanche Dog Fundraiser is LIVE but virtual this year! Your donation supports the training, feeding and travel of Grand Targhee’s dogs and their respective handlers. Throughout January, GTK9 will be holding an online silent actuation and raffle.

The silent auction and raffle will be announced on January 31.

Photo: Grand Targhee Resort

Prizes Include:

  • Full-day fly fishing trip with WorldCast Anglers
  • 2021/22 Winter Season Pass
  • 2021 Bike Park Pass
  • A day of cat skiing at Soldier Mountain
  • Stay and Ski Package to Grand Targhee Resort
  • Local artwork
  • And more!

Grand Targhee Avalanche Dogs, or “GTK9”, is the group of handlers from the Grand Targhee Ski Patrol and their certified avalanche search and rescue dogs. GTK9 is a nonprofit organization that operates under the Grand Targhee Resort Ski Patrol and provides an additional service and safety level to the resort.

Grand Targhee avalanche dog teams consist of patrollers and their dogs who work together to search avalanche areas for skiers or snowboarders.

Photo: Grand Targhee Resort

GTK9 has five teams: Joe and Calvin, Dan and Tele Mundo, Heather and Levi, Casey and Mikko and Becca and Ivy. These duos are always training and reinforcing positive techniques.

Meet the avalanche dogs and their handlers here

They begin their training with fun and rewarding games of hide and seek, where they learn to sniff out their toy or human who is hiding out of sight. Positive rewards are a fun game of tug-o-war.

As the dogs learn and progress, the game gets harder; distractions such as multiple items to find and other dogs and handlers are slowly introduced. Each dog will learn to stay focused on the task at hand. Additional training includes riding chair lifts, on the back of snowmachines, in different vehicles and in helicopters.

If you see the avalanche dogs out on the mountain make sure to ask the patrollers if you can pet or approach their dog, as they may be in training.