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Who Do You Call for Accident on the Slopes?

Poll Results: For in bounds skiing and riding you witness and accident on the slopes. Who do you call and how do you call them?

 
  • 6% (2)
    Call 911 on cell phone
  • 50% (15)
    Call ski patrol or si area administration on cell phone
  • 43% (13)
    Ski to the nearest ski lift attendent and tell them to call ski patrol
30 Total Votes  
post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

For in bounds skiing and riding you witness and accident on the slopes.  Who do you call and how do you call them?   Assume someone else that is not hurt is staying with the patient.  What would you do?

 

Since everyone carries cell phones these days there are more options available to call for help.  So what would you do?

post #2 of 28

Really? Just call the patrol. If you don't have a cell phone, flag someone down and borrow theirs. Area ski instructors and staff will have the patrol number if you don't, so flag them down. If there's no way to communicate via phone and someone is watching the victim, then ski to the nearest lift. They'll call the patrol for you as well.

post #3 of 28

we were lucking enough that ski patrol was nearby on both of my daughters' injury.  

 

post #4 of 28

I haven't called a resort phone since the days after they started listing ski conditions and lesson reservations online.  Who actually has the resort mainline in their cell contacts?th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #5 of 28

More often than not, I ski by myself. So, I usually do the following:

  1. Program that mountain's ski patrol number into my cell phone, and also hit it once just so that it registers as a "most recent call". That way, it may be a little quicker for me to find if I'm a bit discombobulated...
  2. I carry a FRS or GMRS radio, and check with the ski patrol to see if they monitor channel 9-1-1 or any other channel. Just in case the cell isn't working.
  3. Finally, I have one of those super-loud safety-whistles tethered to my collar, within reach of my mouth.

 

Maybe a bit more than the poster was asking, but I think they're good ideas.

 

To specifically answer the question, I'd call patrol first, before 911. Know that when you call 911, your call or problem will have to be routed to the proper first responders, which will take a little time. I think that a direct call to patrol will get the quickest response.

 

While I'm babbling, thanks to all of our Patrollers out there, for making the mountains safe and being there when we screw up!

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Really? Just call the patrol. If you don't have a cell phone, flag someone down and borrow theirs. Area ski instructors and staff will have the patrol number if you don't, so flag them down. If there's no way to communicate via phone and someone is watching the victim, then ski to the nearest lift. They'll call the patrol for you as well.


In many places, it will take you longer to wait for someone with phone then wait for someone that is either a patroller, instructor or someone with the number. In most cases, getting to a lift shack (and hopefully finding a patroller or instructor on the way) is the fastest. 

post #7 of 28

I have the local ski patrol as speed button 9 on my phone.  After all, if I wanted 911, I'd KNOW that number.  

 

In general, I don't believe in leaving an injured skier before help arrives.  However, if my phone didn't work due to the area of the mountain I was in, and the area in question was a less-frequented area, AND the person needed something I couldn't handle and SOON, then, I'd make an exception.  

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post


In many places, it will take you longer to wait for someone with phone then wait for someone that is either a patroller, instructor or someone with the number. In most cases, getting to a lift shack (and hopefully finding a patroller or instructor on the way) is the fastest. 



Agreed 120%. 

post #9 of 28

[oops forgot to quote...]

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

 Who actually has the resort mainline in their cell contacts?th_dunno-1[1].gif


 

 

I do. And my kids. Not every single place we go, but definitely at the places we usually go, and if I remember I put it in our phones at the beginning of a trip. If we can find the patrol phone#, that's better, but it isn't always available.

 

There are also emergency phones on slope, but obviously not at every single place you might need one.

post #11 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

In many places, it will take you longer to wait for someone with phone then wait for someone that is either a patroller, instructor or someone with the number. In most cases, getting to a lift shack (and hopefully finding a patroller or instructor on the way) is the fastest. 


Right on.  The MOST IMPORTANT THING is to be able to accurately and concisely tell the patrol where the victim is.  It sucks when someone skis by the lift shack and only says "Someone needs help up in the trees."  <-happens all the time.  

 

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post


 

 

I do. And my kids. Not every single place we go, but definitely at the places we usually go, and if I remember I put it in our phones at the beginning of a trip. If we can find the patrol phone#, that's better, but it isn't always available.

 

There are also emergency phones on slope, but obviously not at every single place you might need one.

 

That's interesting in reading this, segbrown.  I have ski patrol dispatch on my cellphone (all of us employees are supposed to), but I got to wondering if someone could find that number on the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort web page.  I couldn't locate it after a few minutes of searching.

 

I'm going to check with the patrol before giving ours out on the internet.

 

Other ski resorts may be different, but I think our patrol really does prefer that you find a ski instructor or other patroller to call it in rather than the general public.  The reason is that our mountain is very big with a lot of blind areas and so on.  It can actually SLOW DOWN the time for response for a patroller (or team) to get to a wreck if they are given vague or wrong information on the location.  On our mountain, if the patroller doesn't get on the proper line to come to the site of the wreck from above, then it may require trying to hike uphill in very difficult conditions with rescue gear to get to the victim.

 

I'll give an example... Last year during the Christmas holiday, I was instructing a couple of people.  It was a very windy, very snowy day and we were skiing down Amphitheater in a near whiteout.  I heard what sounded like a scream from above me in an off-trail area with trees.  I stopped and I could make out two or three kids who were stationary in a spot well up the slope, and then I heard another really BAD scream.  Knowing it would have taken me 20 or 30 minutes to hike up to the spot, I called ski patrol dispatch to report what MIGHT be a wreck.  It turned out that someone else (a passerby) had called 911 a couple of minutes earlier to report that a kid had broken his leg.   911 called our mountain dispatch a minute or so before I called, but the location that was given to the ski patrol was way off - probably because the passerby didn't really know how to describe exactly where the kid was.  Because I called just as the patrollers were leaving with a sled, the dispatcher was able to direct them to exactly where the kid was.  They got there a few minutes later and everything eventually turned out fine.

 

So the only additional advice I would give beyond learning a phone number to call if necessary is to be able to give as much and as accurate information as possible to the people you call.  Telling them exactly where to go and - to whatever extent possible - what to expect when they get there can really help both the rescuers and the victim(s).

 

Great subject. 
 

 

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 


Right on.  The MOST IMPORTANT THING is to be able to accurately and concisely tell the patrol where the victim is.  It sucks when someone skis by the lift shack and only says "Someone needs help up in the trees."  <-happens all the time.  

 


You said it better and quicker than I did, Bob.

 

post #14 of 28

The universal sign for distress is crossed skis above the victum. You do that and you'll get all the attention you need.

post #15 of 28

Maybe at your mountain.  What if this is in the trees?  What if it's midweek on a less popular run?  Many western areas have acreage in the 3000-5000 neighborhood..  There are areas here (even on groomed runs) that depending on the day of the week and the weather I could stand 15 minutes and never see a soul.  In the trees?  Forget it.  Given enough trees, I might not even be able to explain where we were.  That means a round trip excursion taking someone to the body.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortydude View Post

The universal sign for distress is crossed skis above the victum. You do that and you'll get all the attention you need.



 

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Maybe at your mountain.  What if this is in the trees?  What if it's midweek on a less popular run?  Many western areas have acreage in the 3000-5000 neighborhood..  There are areas here (even on groomed runs) that depending on the day of the week and the weather I could stand 15 minutes and never see a soul.  In the trees?  Forget it.  Given enough trees, I might not even be able to explain where we were.  That means a round trip excursion taking someone to the body.  
 



 


Still...

 

Putting crossed skis above the victim IS a great idea and IS the universally-recognized signal for something wrong.  It helps (sometimes) keep other skiers from plowing into the victim and it does make for a much-more-visible marker of the scene for anyone coming from above and searching for the site.

 

It certainly isn't going to hurt anything.

 

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortydude View Post

The universal sign for distress is crossed skis above the victum. You do that and you'll get all the attention you need.



^^^^This and go to the nearest lift shack.  If there's other traffic ask someone to hang around with the victim while you go for help.  I avoid phones on the mountain like the plague.  I bring a whistle if I plan to ski trees though.

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Maybe at your mountain.  What if this is in the trees?  What if it's midweek on a less popular run?  Many western areas have acreage in the 3000-5000 neighborhood..  There are areas here (even on groomed runs) that depending on the day of the week and the weather I could stand 15 minutes and never see a soul.  In the trees?  Forget it.  Given enough trees, I might not even be able to explain where we were.  That means a round trip excursion taking someone to the body.  
 



 


Still...

 

Putting crossed skis above the victim IS a great idea and IS the universally-recognized signal for something wrong.  It helps (sometimes) keep other skiers from plowing into the victim and it does make for a much-more-visible marker of the scene for anyone coming from above and searching for the site.

 

It certainly isn't going to hurt anything.

 


I wasn't arguing to NOT do it, just with "You do that and you'll get all the attention you need."

 

post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 

The reason for posting this thread is the problem with calling 911 is most EMS 911 dispatchers MUST dispatch an ambulance to the mountain in addition to calling ski patrol.    In fact the patient may not require an ambulance ride to the hospital.  This means an ambulance was taken out of service to respond to a false alarm.  Its best to NOT call 911.  Contacting ski patrol directly with accurate location information will often provide a faster response. 

 

If you witness an injury you have important information that ski patroller would like to know.  Mechanism of Injury is extremely important piece of information and may help save a life.   This is  especially important for an accident where the patient may be unconscious.  Ski patrol needs any information witnesses may have.  If the patient was skiing and went limp before falling this is important information.   The patient may have a medical condition that made him pass out before the fall.  Knowing that the ski patroller will be thinking about a medical condition in addition to trauma. 

post #20 of 28

As someone who's been involved with emergency services for 20+ years, calling 911 at the resort is beyond stupid-never do it. First off, if dispatch does send an ambulance, how are those paramedics/EMTs going to get to the victim? They are equipped to pull up in a parking lot and pick a patient up from there. So, if you were to call 911, the dispatch would have to call patrol to get you to a road before the paramedics can even get involved. Secondly, the cell coverage at the base of the mountain may not be the same cell at the top of the mountain. You could call 911 and actually have your call diverted to the dispatch in the next county, where they couldn't even send a ambulance to your resort. If you are inbounds at a resort, stop the next skier you see. That skier will be right next to a lift in a matter of minutes and they have an resort operations phone there. If you are backcountry, you should absolutely have the sheriff's office's phone number in your cell. Calling 911 may be a waste of time if a helicopter needs to be arranged for rescue, the S.O. can do it more easily.....

 

 

As an aside, one of the funniest OnStar moments you won't hear advertised is the day OnStar called my ER's charge nurse and told her that someone in our parking lot was having chest pain. This was a 300 bed hospital and the size of the surrounding parking lot was about 10 acres. She had them call 911 so an ambulance could be dispatched

post #21 of 28

As someone who's been involved with emergency services for 20+ years, calling 911 at the resort is beyond stupid-never do it. First off, if dispatch does send an ambulance, how are those paramedics/EMTs going to get to the victim? They are equipped to pull up in a parking lot and pick a patient up from there. So, if you were to call 911, the dispatch would have to call patrol to get you to a road before the paramedics can even get involved. Secondly, the cell coverage at the base of the mountain may not be the same cell at the top of the mountain. You could call 911 and actually have your call diverted to the dispatch in the next county, where they couldn't even send a ambulance to your resort. If you are inbounds at a resort, stop the next skier you see. That skier will be right next to a lift in a matter of minutes and they have an resort operations phone there. If you are backcountry, you should absolutely have the sheriff's office's phone number in your cell. Calling 911 may be a waste of time if a helicopter needs to be arranged for rescue, the S.O. can do it more easily.....

 

 

As an aside, one of the funniest OnStar moments you won't hear advertised is the day OnStar called my ER's charge nurse and told her that someone in our parking lot was having chest pain. This was a 300 bed hospital and the size of the surrounding parking lot was about 10 acres. She had them call 911 so an ambulance could be dispatched

post #22 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by csavage View Post

As someone who's been involved with emergency services for 20+ years, calling 911 at the resort is beyond stupid-never do it. ...


One of the funnier 911 calls from a ski area that I know of was a woman who called 911 three times within 10 minutes when a mid-mountain lift she was on stopped.  The last time she called a patroller had already been by to tell her that it would just be a few minutes until the lift was fixed.  

 

I wondered what she thought 911 could do to get her off a mid-mountain lift.  

 

post #23 of 28

There is no cell service where I ski. So I go and get somebody.

post #24 of 28

/\/\ This works. But if you have one of those FRS radios (family radios), just tune it to channel 9-11. Most Ski Patrols monitor that channel and you can call dispatch that way.

 

I have the Patrol Dispatch number programmed into my phone and those of my kids. But calling any number at a resort should get you transferred to dispatch (I'd hope).

post #25 of 28

Poll is flawed.  Ideally (if there is another person there) you should do all three of those, or at least call patrol and send someone for help.

 

The first, best thing to do is to call ski patrol (or the ski area's main number if you don't have the patrol's direct number).  As mentioned above, it helps a whole lot to provide accurate information as to where the victim is, especially at a larger area or if you're off-trail.

 

If for some reason you can't get ahold of patrol, and someone is seriously hurt, calling 911 works too.  They should be able to get the ski patrol on the line.  As noted in posts #19 and #20, this is not ideal for various reasons, but it's WAY better than doing nothing.

 

If someone else is with you, you should send someone to go to the nearest ski lift (or the base area) and have them notify a ski area employee about what happened and where the injured person is.  All lift operators and many instructors or other on-hill staff will have a radio or phone to call ski patrol.

 

I would not leave a seriously injured person alone unless there was really no other choice (e.g. nobody else there AND no cell/radio service).

 

Crossed skis (or a snowboard placed sideways as a barricade) in the snow above the victim will draw attention and hopefully keep anyone from crashing into you if you're somewhere not easily visible from above.

post #26 of 28

At Sun Peaks the Ski Patrol Dispatcher phone # is printed on the back of a season pass. Used it last week to phone in an accident from the trail back from out of bounds side country. An injured blonde Swedish ski instructor and her two male friends spoke pretty fluent English and had already phoned in the accident but it was their first season at SP so I made a second call to Dispatch to confirm the exact location as it was in an unpatrolled area and so both the patient and the patrol were initially not 100% sure of the exact spot to head to.

 

Skied by a well attended accident today, but to me the base facing uphill snow board planted sideways on the slope initially looked like just another snowboarder resting in a bad spot. Please plant the snowboard with tip or tail (board vertical)  and in the snow with bindings facing up hill.

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
Please plant the snowboard with tip or tail (board vertical)  and in the snow with bindings facing up hill.


Often hard to do unless the snow is really soft, plus if it falls over base-side-down, it will be a runaway board and really dangerous. Good idea, but doesn't work so well most of the time.

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post



Often hard to do unless the snow is really soft, plus if it falls over base-side-down, it will be a runaway board and really dangerous. Good idea, but doesn't work so well most of the time.



Twintips won't stick upright in the snow easily, either.  

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