A family was backcountry skiing just outside the resorts boundaries on Sunday when it noticed motion in the brush and stopped to investigate.
It was a wayward ewe.
They just saw the head sticking out of the snow, said Tim Flaherty, executive director at Tamarack.
The family reported the stranded sheep to Tamarack, and ski patrol members decided it would be good real-world practice for rescues.
They loaded a sled and skied down to the ewe, which they found tangled in brush and covered in snow.
It was completely trapped, Flaherty said.
The ensuing rescue was neither easy nor routine, even beyond the fact that it was a sheep extraction, Flaherty said.
Patrollers had to wade through the brush and deep snow and carefully dig out and untangle the ewe. They fed her a granola bar and gave her water before loading her onto the rescue sled and towing her off the mountain.
Those guys were pretty tired and sweaty, Flaherty said.
Its likely the ewe was part of a band of sheep that moved through the area in late October, Flaherty said, which means it had likely survived for months in the mountains. Its hard to know exactly how long it had been trapped in such taxing conditions.
The ewe was taken to a nearby ranch, where she is still struggling. On Wednesday, the animal still was not able to stand on its own.
Shes out of the woods and rehabilitating, and were hoping for the best, Flaherty said.
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors