Monday, December 11, 2006

Ski Season (#8) - trauma and snow Ski Season (#8) - trauma and snow

Three days ago, I blogged some photos of skiers and ski areas. The first one was of Schoolmarm Ridge on Dercum Mtn. at Keystone. Well, this is what it looks like today.

This is looking down Mozart from the top of Dercum's Mountain towards North Peak. Yesterday, I had to ski this, and it was, as usual, horrid.


Usually, we spend our time on the front of Dercum's Moutain when we are working Mountain Watch. But Mozart is within the area that we patrol, so occasionally have to work it. But yesterday had nothing to do with that. Rather, three of us were delegated to ski down to the bottom of it and help with a Flight-For-Life evacuation from the mini-base area there. We never did figure out what had happened. It appears that someone had a heart attack (maybe) on a chair in the outback. Nevertheless, we moved the guests back quite a ways and then the chopper landed, throwing the lighter chairs, garbage, and even a snowboard around with its rotor wash. We then spent probably 3/4 of an hour keeping everyone away from the chopper, while there were comings and goings (including the flight nurse) up to the patient on snowmobile. Finally, we cleared the way, and an "ambulance" (a Tucker sno-cat with a big box on it) arrived from the site, discourged the flight nurse and at least one ski patrol. The ambulance then proceeded down Keystone Gulch with the patient - apparently they were doing CPR on him at that time. The chopper then took off.

At that point, things were a bit jumbled. I couldn't figure out how this tied in with a chopper coming in from C. Springs. But then when I got back to the top, I joined a couple of Mtn. Watch at the top keeping Spring Dipper closed. Apparently, there was another life-threatening injury there, and a chopper landed about half way down there. And, then there was some guy in the A51 terrain park who had gone off a jump and came down upside down (which I saw a number of last year riding the Peru lift over A51). Unfortunately, he came down on his head, and had to be flown out also.

It has to be some sort of minor record, three 10-33's (life threatening injuries) active in the ski area at once. We were only getting bits and pieces of what was going on, because the normal ski patrol channel (1) was closed to all except for these three injuries, and so everyone (including the remainder of the patrol) were on our channel (3). But bits and pieces kept filtering in all day. I even got to talk with the Keystone Risk Management person, who had apparently been pulled in on off of a day off skiing with her husband. And then at the end of the day, the Dir. of the Ski Patrol was pulled off of talking with us about our upcoming party while he ate his belated lunch to going down and reviewing the site on Spring Dipper with his boss, the Dir. of Mtn. Operations.

So, now it is probably time to go back up there, but today should be a lot calmer - it is a week day, and most of those on the mountain won't be skiing that much due to the light snow storm seen in these pictures.

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