October 3, 2021 – On-hill refresher at the Pass

After an excellent day of turns at Mt Hood the day before, Dan and I settled in for a long weekend of ski patrol refresher activities, starting with the in-town OEC refresher on Saturday, and then the on-hill refresher on Sunday. Even though it’s always a long weekend, spending the day on the hill refreshing on lift evacuation and outdoor emergency care activities is a good way to spend the day. This year, we did our evacuation practice on the Sleepy lift, and after leading a discussion on the lift evacuation plan and safety concerns with the patrol, I headed over with group 1 to do the evacuation. After loading the seats on the lifts, it was time to get going.

Chair evac practice on Sleepy

Our practice went quickly and smoothly. Passing the rope over the chairs was pretty easy given the height of the Sleepy lift, but it’s always good to get back in the with the ‘biner ‘boo…

Hutch showing how it’s done
Lowering patrollers out of the chair

After everyone from group 1 was lowered, then moved to belayer and then communicator, it was time to rotate out and go through the same practice with group 2. Group 2 went as smoothly as group 1. The only challenge was trying to line the chairs up just right so that we didn’t have to climb more towers than necessary. That being said, it proved easier with the short height of the Sleepy lift to use the wrist rocket system to get the rope over the haul line anyway…

Ben practicing his communications skills
Ben demonstrating proper form in flipping off the rope saver

Before long, everyone was lowered, and then it was time to go through the RTS belay practice and then get some lunch. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I found a nice spot in the shade since it was getting quite warm.

Enjoying a quick break at lunch
Toby hanging out at lunch

After lunch, it was time to practice some more OEC skills, and various different scenarios. Hannah led the station, and went over the logistics before we broke up into our individual groups to get refreshed.

Hannah going over the logistics

The scenarios ran the gamut from upper extremity injuries, broken femurs, flail chests, etc., and we worked them from start to finish, including patient packaging into the sled. I pulled out my camera and snapped a few photos as we worked…

Kylan rendering aid to Dave
Patrick treating a lower extremity injury

Even though it was hot in the sun, it was good to get refreshed on the different skills that weren’t part of the in-town OEC refresher the day before. All in all, we completed 4 or 5 full scenarios, and then wrapped up and headed over to our last station of the day — mass casualty.

Matthew getting backboarded
Brian & Kerstin applying sling and swathes

Laurie led our mass casualty event, and as usual it was quite chaotic. Such is the nature of those types of scenarios, and after working through the challenges, it was time to call it a day and put the capper on another refresher weekend. We helped get all the gear back into the patrol room, and then Dan and I loaded up and headed to Gold Lake to enjoy a well deserved beer and cook up some brats. My beer of choice for the day was a tasty Hazy IPA from Cascade Lakes Brewing. With the warm weather, it definitely hit the spot.

Hazy IPA from Cascade Lakes Brewing Co
Hanging at the Gold Lake Snowpark

It didn’t take long to cook the brats to perfection, and we enjoyed them with hot mustard and garden fresh onions. Along with some fresh chips and salsa and our cold beers, it was the perfect way to cap off a great refresher weekend.