While we would like to tell you about every mission we participate in, we are unable to do so unless the Albany County Sheriff's Office releases information.

Dan called the March monthly meeting to order, Dane read the minutes from the March board meeting, and Paige conducted a financial report. Dan then discussed upcoming events which included CPR and first aid recertifications in April, a new member class in April, in-house man tracking training April 2 at 9:00 AM, tracking training in Lusk June 10-12, and wilderness first aid for some time in the summer. 

Chad was looking to set up an Incident Command System (ICS) logistics and support team for anyone interested. Elections were then discussed. All present candidates were introduced and the roles of each position were discussed. Ballots had been handed out to each eligible member as they arrived at the meeting. Harold moved to adjourn that portion of the meeting and a break was taken. Detective Meyer and Deputy Schlager then led a class on crime scene awareness and management. 

Tyler and Dane counted the ballots and announced the coming year's officers and board members: Dan Hutchinson as president, Matt Burkhart as vice president, Paige Hellbaum as treasurer, and Lisa Zezas as secretary. The board members elected were Brenna Noll (2 year term), Kurt Braisted (1 year term), Neil Mathison (2 year term), and Alan Sinicki (1 year term).

Cy from Laramie Fire then led a class on drone technology and application. 

The 2016 elections were held at the March 29th meeting.
Congratulations to the 2016 ACSSAR Officers and Board!

The 2016 results are as follows:
President: Dan Hutchison
Vice President: Matt Burkhart 
Treasurer: Paige Hellbaum
Training: Yvette Widman
Secretary: Lisa Zezas

Board Members:
(1yr) Alan Sinicki
(1yr) Kurt Braisted
(2yr) Neil Mathison
(2yr) Brenna Noll

Here's to another great year with ACSSAR!
And thank you to Dane Purmalis and Chris Armstrong for the past years service!

Dan called the March board meeting to order and Paige conducted a financial report. The logo on the IC trailer is still in need of replacement and we are waiting to hear back from a business on a quote. Dan will look into going with an alternative company. More toner is needed for the trailer's printer and will be ordered in the future. 

Upcoming events and training include a new member class, a spring mock search, CPR training (the dates of which are all to be determined), high angle training on Thursday, March 24, tracking training on the morning of April 2 (weather dependent), high angle snow field training on Sunday, April 17, and Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services training June 10-12. ACSSAR was invited to and will be at the UW resource fair on Friday, May 25. Medical volunteers are being sought for two upcoming events: the Gowdy Grinder on Sunday, May 22 from 8:00-5:00 (food will be provided), and the Stone Temple 8 on Saturday, September 10 from 8:00-5:00 (more details to come). 

The meeting topic for March is crime scene awareness. A presentation on drone technology will possibly follow and elections will take place at the end of the meeting.

The layout of the election ballot form was reviewed, distribution of absentee ballots was discussed, and what qualifications needed for members to vote were gone over as well. Member removal letters were finalized and Dan adjourned the meeting.  


In attendance: Dan Hutchinson, Dane Purmalis, Paige Hellbaum, Chris Armstrong, Brenna Noll, Bob Meyer, Neil Mathison, and Harold Magness

Wintertime recreation in the Laramie area is something special whether skiing, hiking, snowshoeing or snowmobiling! Being prepared for your adventure is key to a fun rewarding outing. The weather is nearly unpredictable in the high elevations and can change fast. Every season there are numerous accounts of individuals and groups getting lost, running out of fuel or injured while recreating. Please take a moment before each ride and outfit yourself properly for the ride. 

Avalanche Gear: If you plan to be in steep terrain 
  • Shovel in your backpack not on your sled.
  • Probe in your backpack not on your sled.
  • Beacon attached to you, not in your backpack or on your sled.
  • Don't forget the training! If you have had the training, you will know why your gear belongs with you and not on your sled..
Survival Gear for Your Backpack
  • First Aid Kit
  • Pack Saw
  • Multiple Light Sources
  • LED Flashlight
  • LED Head Lamp
  • Toilet paper
  • Survival Blanket
  • Adventure Medical HeatSheets Emergency Bivvy
  • Duct tape
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Matches
  • Fire Flint
  • Road Flares
  • Tampons (Fire Starter)
  • Water container
  • Food – Can of Tuna or Baked Beans...
  • Extra Gloves
  • Extra Socks
  • Hand Warmers
  • Tarp/Shelter material
Stuff To Have In Snowmobile:
  • Spare Spark Plugs
  • Basic Toolkit
  • Spare Belt
  • Water Bottles
  • Food
  • Rope
Highly Recommended
  • Cell Phone - service is not a 100% thing in the Snowy's, but you may well get a signal so why not try!
  • Spot
  • Garmin Rino (2-way Radio / GPS Combo) If nothing else carry a GPS

Dan called the February monthly meeting to order, Dane read the minutes from the February board meeting, and Paige conducted a financial report. Dan then discussed upcoming events, which included CPR and first aid recertification on March 1-2, a 50 hour EMR class still to be scheduled, a new member class for March or April, high angle snowfield training on April 17, and swift water rescue training in Saratoga on May 6-8. 

The March election process was reviewed. The different positions and their roles were discussed, and Matt introduced each running candidate. Brenna then discussed changes to policy and bylaws. This included a candidacy program for new members, clarification of different officers' duties, member removal policy, and changes to the pack list. 

Harold moved to adjourn, Vicki seconded, and all were in favor. A break was taken, and Chad then led a class on the Incident Command System. 

February's board meeting began with a review of equipment and gear. The logo on the side of the IC trailer is peeling off and needs replacing. Quotes are being obtained on a replacement. Solutions for storing the growing amount of SAR gear were discussed. This might be solved by a shed being placed at the SAR building. It was decided to delay who would be placed on the callout phone number list until after the next election. The March elections, and who would like to run again, were discussed. Paige then conducted a financial report and fundraising ideas were reviewed. 

Upcoming training and events included a SAR Management class put on by Kirk Wagner in March, a spring mock search to take place probably in April, a new member orientation on February 17th, snowmobile training for hopefully the first weekend in March, and a joint-SAR and S.O. high angle snowfield class on April 17th at Medicine Bow Peak that will include snowmobiles and the snow cat. Upcoming meeting topics included Incident Command System training in February and Crime Scene Awareness, Elections, and possibly Drone Demo in March. Other classes included a class by Jim Waters on on cell phone location technology and a large list of training classes from Park County Search and Rescue to get ideas from. 

Inactive member notification letters were finalized. Kurt moved to send the letters out, Brenna seconded, and all were in favor. Member participation and roster cleanup were further discussed.

Policy changes included discussion on whether the position of Vice President should be changed to Equipment Officer, and when patches, shirts, and other equipment should be issued to new members. New written policy was briefly reviewed. Matt moved to adjourn the meeting, Kurt seconded, and all were in favor.


In attendance: Dane Purmalis, Kurt Braisted, Dan Hutchinson, Brenna Noll, Chris Armstrong, Neil Mathison, Harold Magness, Josh Hurt, Lisa Zezas, Matt Allshouse, Paige Hellbaum, and Matt Burkhart

The meeting began with a call to order by Dan. Dane read the minutes from January's board meeting. Paige then conducted a financial report. Dan discussed upcoming events, which included the SnoWest gathering in Laramie from February 5-8, CPR and first aid recertification to take place in February, the new member class also scheduled for February, and officer and board elections in March. Changes to the paging system were also discussed. 

After action reviews were conducted on three rescues: The Thanksgiving callout involving lost hunters near Sybille Canyon, the January 3 callout for an injured skier on Centennial Ridge, and the January 16-19 callout for missing snowmobilers in the Snowies. 

Board members and officers then introduced themselves to the group, followed by introductions from everyone present. Harold moved to adjourn the meeting, Charles seconded, and all were in favor. Myron Allen then led a lecture on avalanches.

The meeting began with a discussion on the team's direction for 2016. To enhance communication, Dan proposed having the board meeting notes sent out on the ACSSAR email list instead of just being posted on the team website. The 2016 elections, and who would run again, were discussed. Matt and Paige volunteered to head the committee to organize the upcoming election. It was announced that there would be a meeting with the Sheriff and Lieutenant in the near future to discuss the team and it's continuing direction. Paige then conducted a financial report. The fundraising letter and when to send it out was discussed. Because of the late send-out in 2015, it was decided to send it out at roughly the same time of year in 2016. 

Equipment was then discussed. There was consideration to buy several more longer radio antennas because of their better performance. Matt moved to buy 5 more, Brenna seconded, and all were in favor. Dan wanted to finalize who was call-out number list. A laptop was bought for the incident command trailer. Matt and Brenna volunteered to look into mapping software. A date and time were decided on to install a power compositor in the trailer. The black snowmobile was experiencing problems during the last rescue so it will be taken in to be looked at. 

Upcoming training was then gone over. Snowmobile training will be put on by the Sheriff's Office and will occur in late January. The required crime scene management class is to be rescheduled for probably March. The topic of January's regular meeting will be Avalanches. 

General business included discussing preparations for the SnoWest snowmobiling forum gathering on February 5-7. It was concluded that no special preparations were needed other than to be ready. It was decided that follow-up with Neil on a fire district MOU question could wait until February. Matt would assist with this. Individual member participation and roster cleanup was examined. Training reimbursement requests were then examined and decided upon. The holiday dinner was talked about and will occur at 6:30 on Friday, January 22. ACSSAR hats (black) and beanies (orange) were ordered as well. 

In attendance: Dane Purmalis, Dan Hutchinson, Matt Allshouse, Chris Armstrong, Page Hellbaum, Brenna Noll, Bob Meyer, Neil Matheson, Kurt Braisted, and Harold.

On Saturday, the 16th, of January, a family of three, a husband and wife, age 46, and their son, age 18, were snowmobiling in the Snowy Mountain Range, west of the Green Rock parking area off HWY 130. During the afternoon one of the three snowmobiles became inoperable. Due to high winds and ground blizzards the family prepared for the night by building a snow cave and starting a fire.


On Sunday morning, the 17th, the father heard another snowmobile in the area and with one of the remaining snowmobiles left camp in hopes of gaining assistance. After a period of time the snowmobile the father was operating became submerged in a body of water. The father then took the last remaining snowmobile in an attempt to find help when his handlebars broke, rendering his snowmobile useless.


Again, due to high winds and ground blizzards, the father was forced to build another snow cave for himself and spent Sunday night in the cave. On Monday morning, the 18th, the father was soon located by search teams. All rescue teams were then diverted to the general area of the father’s discovered location until major ground blizzards prevented further search efforts.


Search efforts resumed at sunrise on Tuesday morning, the 19th. At approximately 8:00 a.m., search teams located the son, at which time it was determined that the mother was deceased. The son was then transported to an awaiting Snow-Cat and shortly thereafter transferred to the Wyoming Air National Guard helicopter where he was immediately airlifted to Ivinson Memorial Hospital. The son has been transported to a Colorado area hospital for further care.



Robert J. DeBree


Albany County Sheriff’s Office


At 1338 today ACSSAR was contacted by the Albany County Sheriff's Office to assist Centennial Fire Department in carrying an injured skier off of Centennial Ridge. 12 members responded with additional help from Snowy Range Ski Patrol and the Medicine Bow Nordic Ski Patrol. The patient was successfully lowered to a landing zone and taken to more advanced medical care by approximately 1600. Thanks to all teams involved!

Module 1: Avalanche Foundations

Module 2: Avalanche Safety and Rescue Skills


Level 1 Avalanche course, Modules 1 and 2, offered by the National Ski Patrol,

Medicine Bow Nordic Ski Patrol, and Snowy Range Ski Patrol.


The course is open to both the general public and members of the ski patrol. It meets all American Avalanche Association standards for level 1 avalanche courses


This is a National Ski Patrol course with both classroom (Module 1) and on-the-snow (Module 2) experience. Participants will receive credit for both modules, and will meet all requirements to take Organized Avalanche Rescue (Module 3) additionally if desired.


TOPICS COVERED: Avalanche conditions, human factors, snow conditions, weather, route selection, transceivers, avoiding an avalanche, and rescue - what to do if you or a member of your group is caught by an avalanche.


TIME:      Tuesday February 16th,                      6:00 to 9:30 PM

                       Thursday February 18th,                    6:00 to 9:30 PM

                       Sunday February, 21st                         all day field session

                       Thursday February 25th,                   6:00 to 9:30 PM

       Saturday February 27th                     all day field session


COST: $32 plus text (Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, 2nd edition, Bruce Tremper, 2008), payable at the first class.


PLACE: Room 115, UW Half Acre Building




Want to Refresh? If you have taken this course, the National Ski Patrol recommends you refresh every three years. There have been significant changes. Refresher cost is $10 plus cost of text.

Module 3 (Organized Avalanche Rescue) Highly recommended for ski patrollers but optional for non-rescue personnel, this 1-day field course will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016.  The fee is $22. More information will be available during Modules 1 and 2.

Wednesday evening at 2030 ACSSAR received a request from the Albany County Sheriff's Office to be on standby for a possible search Thursday morning. Two hunters had become disoriented in thick fog near Sybille Road/Canyon. ACSSAR Teams mobilized at first light and entered the field around 0730. Limited contact had been made with the hunters and a general search direction was established. Approximately 1230 contact was made with the hunters. Both were in good shape and had built a strong shelter and two fires to keep warm. Search teams and hunters made their way back to Command by about 1530. Search teams experienced Temperatures in the single digits throughout the day as well as low visibility and areas of waist deep snow. Thank you to all responding on this Thanksgiving day! So much to be thankful for!