I'd like to just add a comment about ski patrol for my 1st post.
I honestly never gave them the credit they deserve in the past. I kinda just regarded them as the speed police, and loked at our relationship as "us vs. them".
Well, this past March at Solitude, that all changed.
I was hiking Fantasy Ridge above the summit chair, and got into a bit of a bind. I chose a line that was a tad beyond my skill level that day, and paid the price. I skied 5 sweet turns in knee deep pow, intending to stop at a small pine tree to survey the rest of the run. But it didn't go that way.
I tried to stop, and my tails dropped into a void (either tree roots, or rocks, I can't be sure). Next thing I knew, I was on my back, gaining speed, then ragdolling for 200 feet down a rocky chute. Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I was airborne for what seemed like an eternity. I fell 70 feet off a sheer rock wall. Thank god for a deep base and pretty soft snowpack in my LZ.
So as I lay there, not knowing which way was up, or how bad I was hurt, the ski patrol was already on the way to my location. They had actually seen the last bit of my tumble, and were out the door of the patrol shack before my carcass stopped rolling. I was in a tough spot. They had to climb up to me from the traverse, a good 150 feet through snow that was rib cage height for someone on foot. 4 guys got up to me and began the assessment. I was strapped to a backboard, and not having any idea how bad my internal injuries were, they called in a heli.
The sled ride down to the heli LZ was almost as scary as the fall. These guys couldn't use a snowmo, so it was 1 in front, 1 behind, and down we went, through steep and deep powder, crud, and bumps. How these guys kept me under control I have no idea.
So as they loaded me in the bird, they even had the presence of mind to ask about my vehicle. They took my keys, and said they'd try to help me coordinate getting it back if and when I was able.
Well, long story short, I was miraculously fine. The doctors were dumbstruck. I had every test the hospital knew how to give, and all I ended up with was a seriously bruised quadricep, a chipped elbow, and a serious headache. Marvin, the patrol director, called me to check up and told me that whenever they discharged me, he'd come down with my vehicle, and take me to the hotel, airport, or whatever! I was like, "You've got to be kidding me!".
So he came down, I thanked him and the boys profusely, bought one of their nifty patrol T-shirts, and bought the whole crew beers and a bottle.
I'm so grateful to these guys, who didn't know me from Adam, but busted their asses to make sure I had the best chance of surviving my own stupidity. I'll forever consider these guys friends, and I'll never look at patrol in a negative light again.
Oh, and FYI, if you ever are tossed up between a week of guided heli skiing at Mike Weigele's during peak season, and an 8 minute heli ride from Solitude to LDS Hospital, go with the former. They cost the same, but you'll get a little more vertical with option "A".