Monday, December 11, 2006

Ski Season (#8a) - trauma Ski Season (#8a) - trauma

In my previous post, I talked about the three life threatening injuries at Keystone yesterday. In my five years working Mountain Watch at the area, this is the most I have ever seen at once, and should not be taken as any indication of the safety of the area. Rather, it is clearly a function of the way that statistics work.

That said, one of the things that makes working in Mountain Watch so rewarding are days like yesterday. Not only did we (and I) make a difference, but the coming together of everyone in this sort of situation is reward in itself. I had been teasing one of the ski patrol earlier, and she hadn't been taking it as well as she had in previous interactions. But then an hour later, we found outselves standing in the same line keeping the guests away from the chopper and moving everything that might blow away. And later, a well done from and to all.

That line though wasn't just red (ski patrol) and yellow (mountain watch), but also dark-gray/red (operations), and dark blue (race team/terrain park). We had lift operators and food-and-beverage jumping in, and, indeed, it was one of the later who yelled the loudest to clear the area for the ambulance, when the chpper was taking off, and the all clear.

Then, back on top, we had the light blue jackets (Guest Services) jump in to help us with the closure of the Spring Dipper run (because Flight For Life was landing a chopper about half way down the run). Everyone, but everyone, pitched in.

And most of the guests were understanding, if a bit curious. That later is expected. But we did have some who bitched and moaned about trails being closed. All I could say to them was that they would like it done for them if they were the one hitting a tree on that slope (I won't know until today what really happened there - the hitting of a tree was a hypothetical), and their survival depended on being in a Level 1 Trauma Center w/i 30 minutes (or Level 5 w/i 5 minutes) of being evacuated.

Update - the person who was airlifted from Spring Dipper did indeed hit a tree. He was airlifted to Saint Anthony's Central west of Denver (the closest Level One trauma center), where he died.

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