Caroline Elliott

At the National Snow Show we spoke with Caroline Elliott about her amazing canines that help save lives in the mountains.

National Snow Show Xtra

Mountains have always loomed large in my life, always there on my horizon, beckoning me towards them.

Skiing, from an early age, first ignited a fire in my belly to be in mountain environments which, thankfully, I have managed to achieve for most of my working life. Then there are the ‘other mountains’ I have had to climb; all the obstacles that I have had to overcome to pursue my passions. Many times, well meaning people have tried to dissuade me from pursuing a career that they thought did not offer sensible, known pathways but I have learned that the less travelled paths in life are usually more interesting. Then there have been other challenges about finding acceptance in spheres of work that, traditionally, have been viewed as male work environments. Slowly, these outdated concepts are changing; I am proud that I have, in my own small way, contributed to these changing attitudes. No-one should be defined by anyone except themself.

From that first love of skiing, I went on to train in freestyle skiing (balletic and aerials) and then moved on to ski instructing in Austria and Australia. Following this, I developed a specialism in ski patrol in France, overcoming the many challenges necessary to achieving those qualifications. Later, I would work as an avalanche dog handler with the Fire Brigade in their specialised mountain rescue unit, working with Fjord, my much missed faithful companion. Nowadays, you’re more likely to see me in the mountains of Cumbria swimming in the mountain tarns or exploring the beautiful, rugged landscape with Källa, my second and equally loved flat coated retriever.

Mountains have brought me great joy. While awe inspiring and life enhancing, mountains also demand respect as there are potential dangers for those with a lack of knowledge.

Whilst the winter resorts have been shut, I have had time to reflect on all that mountains have taught me.

I slowly gathered all my snow adventures together along with precious memories of my incredible avalanche dog, Fjord. Little by little I created my children’s book, Fjord’s Mountain Mission, a book all about how to stay safe in the winter resorts.

Prevention is so much better than dealing with the consequences of poor decisions on mountains.

I want everyone to feel the deep joy I have felt there, but I also want everyone to be safe.

I hope my book goes some way to achieving both.


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