Monday, February 19, 2007

Skiing - President's day weekend Skiing - President's day weekend

This last weekend was a disaster at the ski area where I worked. Friday, it snowed, but didn't stick because of the wind. The area shut down first the two gondolas, then starting with the back, progressively shut down lifts towards the front throughout the day. The Summit Express shut down at 2:15 and the Montezuma list at 2:30. Indeed, it shut down between the time we got to the top of the Peru lift and when we got down to it, about 3 minutes later. This left the Peru Express and the fixed lift in the beginning area running, for probably around 10,000 guests. Not pleasant.

We missed the excitement Sat. morning, as I-70 was shut down for awhile for avalanche blasting. This did manage to thin the crowds just a tiny bit, but... Everyone was so psyched to ski over the three or four day weekend that it was near capacity. I heard that the Outback Express lift had a 20 minute wait, which is near record.

But the big problem for me was that there were so many injuries, and a lot of them were not trivial. I worked on four that needed backboards, and one other that was a clearly broken leg. And there was one Flight for Life. Things got so bad that instead of dispatching patrol from patrol headquarters, they were being dispatched before they got to the top of the lift. Then, on my last run of the day, I found a 9 year old kid with a badly twisted knee. That took another half an hour, and so I signed out at 5:15 (I try to sign out by 4).

But just as I signed out, I heard about someone hitting a tree between Last Hoot (steepest trail on the mountain) and the Peru lift. Our Mountain Watch supervisor was the first employee to get there and called it in, again. The guy was apparently sliding in and out of consciousness. But luckily, there is no traffic there, and more MW weren't needed. Still, I listened on my radio to the patrol bringing down the backboard, BLS (Basic Life Support) pack w/O2, etc. as I started my drive back to Dillon. A long, exhausting, day for all concerned.

I should add though that the snow was nice - freshly packed powder, and I did enjoy some nice turns in it. I was on software skis, and they worked great. But mostly, I just worked.


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