16 April 2006

Beer, Wine, And A Day With The Ski Patrol

Man, what a weekend.

Saturday, we hooked up with some friends to go to the Spring Beer & Wine Festival at the Oregon Convention Center. That rocked. Great booze and a humongous exhibition hall made for an excellent time. Even though there were tons of people there, there was so much space that you didn't feel cramped (like at the Holiday Ale Festival). I didn't take any notes, so I don't have a report for you, but suffice to say there are some really great local stouts out there (especially the Black Bear XX Stout from Alameda, and the one from Roots), and I found another scottish ale I really like (Karlsson). I had some 15-year-old MacTarnahan's scotch as well. Yummy.

Sunday was spent at the Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. I went up there to be a "meat puppet" (as one of the hill apprentices called it) - basically a warm body to ride in the sleds for one of the hill-first folks to do their sled test. Apparently, she'd passed the test on Saturday, so my day all of a sudden got more interesting.

I got paired up with the training director, John, and after running through some opening procedures (radio to RC what equipment was at the top of Multorpor, clear and tighten some rope-lines, and adjust some lift tower pads), actually got to do some one-on-one sled training. I took a familiarization run with a "clipper" sled, learning the ins and outs of making traversing turns and just getting a feel for hauling around an empty (except for the sled pack) sled. After I finished my first run, John had me rig the sled up for transport up the chairlift. I'd helped with this before, on my shadow day, so I pretty much knew how to rig up the bracket. That was kinda trippy actually getting on the lift with it.

The next run was with John in the sled. Holy crap, what a difference. Glad he showed me how to use the drag-chain "brake". I found out on that run just how out-of-shape I am, and how weak my arms are. I had to stop a bunch of times to rest. I was probably gripping the sled handles way too hard, though, because it was my forearms that were just burning. At least I didn't roll the sled and dump him, but I kept having to stop and shake out my arms. I managed to keep pretty decent control of the sled, and I think I even surprised John by actually switching sides when I was sideslipping with the sled.

Now I have to add some different arm stuff to my workouts whenever I get around to actually starting them.

Later, John and I headed up to the Rescue Center at the top of the Upper Bowl, so he could show me around up there and get an understanding of what equipment was up there and stuff like that. I got to check and clear an oxygen bottle, like we've done in OEC class, but I felt like an idiot for not recognizing a suction device. I'd remembered seeing one in the textbook.

Anyway, after that, John took me with him on a couple runs in the Outback area of the Ski Bowl. We did one run on Calamity, then took a hike over to Tom Dick Peak, which is at the western boundary of the ski area. We could see some small slides to the west of the bowl, and just a magnificent view (despite the cloud cover) to the west. We skied from there down the Western Boundary trail, down Black Label, then the Log Road all the way to the base of the bowl. We grabbed some lunch and John showed me around the west side Aid Room.

After lunch, John asked if I was up for some more sled runs, and I said, "sure." We headed up to the top of the upper bowl and were going to take the Skyline trail over to the Multorpor chair to grab a sled, when a call came over the radio (they had me carrying one, too, as well as an avalanche transceiver - I felt almost like a real patroller) about a guy on a snowboard who'd crashed on Skyline. We headed down there, since we were already heading that way. After a quick assessment, we called for a sled. Two other patrollers arrived with the sled and we got the guy off the hill and down to the aid room. I helped out where I was needed, but with 3 patrollers, it wasn't much more than helping line the sled up next to the patient and ski down the hill with his snowboard.

Once we got to the aid room, I helped out in there by taking his BP and pulse, and helped get him ready to head down into town so he could get checked out at an urgent care facility. Just as I was getting ready to go back out on the hill with John, a call came in for another case that would have to be taken care of at the aid room. John figured it would be another good training opportunity if I stayed around the aid room and helped out, so I did. This time, it was just filling out the paperwork and helping the patroller in the aid room put a cardboard splint on the patient's leg. We also ended up carrying her to her sister's vehicle, because we couldn't get a wheelchair up the hill from the aid room (flat tires!).

Anyway, I was pretty beat after all that, and we ended up missing the last lift to get back to the "palace", so we bummed a ride over there with another patroller (who happens to be a transplanted Vermonter like me) in his '73 Land Rover. Cool old vehicle, which he and his dad had restored.

Good day on the mountain, despite how tired I was (and how sore I am now!). Got in some good skiing, and got some early training in on the sled stuff, aid room procedures, and all that.


Colleen said...

i found your photos of Oregon when i was searching for Mt Hood pics on Google then found your blog, so here i am. lol.

the photos are beautiful. what type of camera do you use. very nice. take care.

Ghost Dog said...

Thanks. It's a Canon Powershot A40, about 3 years old now.

tabitha jane said...

bummer. i missed the beer and wine fest.

i was out of town.