29 March 2007

Ski Day 20: Breaking Spring @ Timberline

Mt. Hood, just around sunrise, from the entry to the Climbers' lot.

Today I took a vacation day from CompuHyperGlobalMegaNet, with the purpose of helping out the ski patrol at Timberline. I'd planned it over a week in advance, and expected that since I'd done so, I would have ended up picking a miserable day to go.

I couldn't have been more wrong. I picked a winner. It was simply gorgeous up there today. A little breezy, which was nice for cooling off between adjusting tower pads and stuff. It was a weird experience to just have the pro patrollers there to hang out with at first, but a few more volunteer associate patrollers came up to help out. Usually, we have a quite structured schedule for the day's activities, but today was kinda loosey-goosey. Basically, get booted up, and go handle whatever needs handling.

Historic Timberline Lodge.

I decided I'd just start at Molly's doing tower pads and move west. I checked the equipment at the top, called it in, and started in on the tower pads. It looked like they hadn't been adjusted in some time, so I had a lot of work in front of me. I stepped into several rather deep tower wells, and I was working up a decent sweat getting them knocked out. I did snap a few pictures on the way.

Top of the Palmer lift, which still isn't open yet. They were running the snow-cat runs today, but I didn't get the chance. I shot this from under the Molly's chair, zoomed way in.

Mt. Jefferson. The visibility was awesome today.

After that, I headed over to the Pucci lift and did more tower pads, and then over to Stormin' Norman to do the same. I had switched into some lighter gloves by the time I got done with Molly's, but had to put the heavier ones back on when I got on the Norman lift - it was much cooler and windier over there. At any rate, I got up to the Mile to relieve the patroller on bump there, ready for a snack and some water.

I just kinda liked this, shooting the mirror at the top shack of the Mile lift.

The morning was a quiet one in terms of cases, and I didn't hear much of anything at all on the radio. I began to wonder if the thing was working at all. Lunchtime rolled around and I headed down to the patrol room to eat. I managed to finish my sandwich before getting a call to bring a wheelchair down to the south entrance of the day-lodge for a guy who'd torn either a calf muscle (my thought) or his achilles tendon (his insistence, given previous injury to it). At any rate, there isn't a hell of a lot we could do for him besides splint it and ice it. Fortunately he had family to take him home and later to a doc.

I was going to get ready to go back out when a lady came into the aid room and asked if someone could go check out her son on the patio. I went out there with her, expecting to see a small child. Instead, she led me to a twenty-something guy who was easily almost a foot taller than I am. He'd rung his bell a bit and was feeling nauseated. I did an assessment and SAMPLE, and he seemed okay other than what he was telling me. I couldn't feel anything wrong with his neck or back, and his head didn't seem to have any swelling or anything either.

He was definitely alert and coherent, no signs of altered vitals or level of responsiveness. We carefully walked to the aid room, had him lay down, and re-checked him, even using the pulse oximeter. Other than a little pain in the back of his head and seeing stars a little bit , he insisted he was fine, and we couldn't find anything to indicate otherwise.
His pain and seeing stars really bothered me, and I thought about oxygen, but the reading from the oximeter and his well-within-normal-range vitals sure indicated otherwise.

I had to get back on the hill, but found out later from one of the patrollers I handed him off to that his symptoms did subside and he walked out of the aid room unassisted. Still a little baffled by that one.

Other than that, I had a couple near-misses where I either arrived after the first responder, or saw someone crash that got up and skied/rode off. There was one kid I saw crash from the Mile chair, and the kid didn't move for a good long while. Best I could tell, he was still on the snow when I got off the chair. I skied down to check it out, but he and the others with him were gone.

Ski Bowl, from Coffel's Run. Looked like it would have been a good day there, as well. Probably warmer, too.

Zooming in as far as I could on the top of the Upper Bowl. You can just barely make out the lift towers and the Rescue Center if you know where to look.

The other (north) side of Timberline Lodge, with Mt. Jefferson in the distance.

Sweep and closing went fine, and I was pretty pleased with the later afternoon snow. It was very carveable and fun, so I was glad to get the assignment to sweep Otto Lang at the area's east boundary. I de-booted and packed up, told the pros I had a good time working with them, and walked to the Sorento. My only regret was not planning to take Friday off as well.

However, a glance at the forecast tells me it's just as well that I didn't. But Sunday looks like snow, and I'm back to Ski Bowl for that. Should be fun.

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