October 16, 2022 – On-Hill Refresher

Like it somehow does every year, the refresher weekend was upon us, and it felt like summer wasn’t even over yet. The weather also didn’t help to make it feel like fall, with ample sunshine and warm temperatures abundant. Nevertheless, we had a successful in-town refresher on Saturday, and headed up to the Pass on Sunday for the on-hill day. Shaun, Dan and I met at Dan’s house early, and headed up the highway, pulling into the Pass around 7:30 am. The day started with a few announcements, then after I led a review of our lift evacuation plan, we headed out for the first rotation. With the help of TW, we got the first group loaded on the Twilight lift, and lift evacuation commenced.

Brian lowering Laurie
Shaun after the 1st rotation of lift evacuation

This year was fun, because my son Shaun, was up for the day since he is in his first year of the Ski Patrol Youth program. I’m pretty sure getting lowered from the chair was one of the highlights of his day. During the second rotation of chair evacuation, I managed to break away from my on-the-ground duties and snapped a few photos of him getting lowered from the chair…

Shaun being lowered off of Twilight
Shaun coming down off the chair

By 12:30 pm, we finally had wrapped up lift evac, and I was happy to get just a few minutes to eat some lunch before we headed over to begin the search and rescue component of the day. While we waited for a couple of minutes for that to begin, I grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos…

Brian and Dave enjoying a break before the search
Patrol members enjoying lunch in the sun

A few minutes later, Laurie wrangled our group outside the patrol room and we began discussing the ins and outs of search and rescue. Holding on to the reporting party, information gathering, communication protocols, point last seen, and other steps of a search were all discussed.

Greg and Brian before the S&R practice
Discussing S&R Protocols

Once the general concepts were discussed and we ran through a few radio exercises to locate a missing person, it was time for a search. As usual, we sent a few teams out to check the base area, parking lot, lodge, etc. and eventually the “missing” person was found on Sleepy.

Laurie & Mindy discussing Search & Rescue
Looking up at ByGeorge

Our day finished up with several OEC scenarios out in front of the lodge, which is always good practice. Hannah led the discussion portion of the training, and then we headed off for some practice.

Discussing OEC protocols
Doug performing an assessment

I was paired up with Doug and Craig, and McKinley (our new P2 mountain host) was our patient. We worked through a few scenarios, taking turns being lead, including a really fun one that involved a dislocated hip. A bit later, I also found a few moments to sneak away and grab a couple of photos of Shaun, who was a patient for James, Brian and Nancy…

James assesssing Shaun
McKinley dressed up for a hip dislocation

We worked our way through a few more scenarios, and finally it was time for the day to be over, or at least mostly over (a few of us still were slated for self-evacuation after the regular refresher activities were through). Everyone shared in the duties of putting all the gear away, and the on-hill refresher was pretty much complete!

Tyler, Andy & Dave in between scenarios
Shaun on the backboard
A classic view of the Pass

Once we got all the gear away, several of us headed over to Sleepy for some self-evacuation practice. It ended up being the pretty core group of patrollers as usual, including Hutch, Brian, Shannon, Dan, myself, Laurie, Tyler and Kerstin. Mindy fired up the lift, Shaun surveyed the scene from below, and we got it done. I shared the chair with Brian, and after we both came out of the chair, I was able to capture a few pics of Hutch ready to come down…

Hutch on the Sleepy chair
Hutch ready to lower for self evac

Finally, with self evacuation over, our day was done, and it felt great to have another refresher in the books! I was looking forward to grabbing a cold beer and enjoying some tasty brats at Gold Lake, and so was Dan, so we loaded into his Tesla and headed out. A few minutes later, I was enjoying a tasty Double Hazy IPA from Pelican Brewing, and we had brats on the grill!

A Hazestack Double IPA from Pelican Brewing
Enjoying brats and beer at Gold Lake Snowpark

The beer and brats definitely hit the spot, and we enjoyed them along with the nice weather while reflecting on a fun day. It always feels good to have the refresher weekend over, and it especially feels good in the moment while at Gold Lake. A bit later, with the food and beer gone, we loaded up and headed down the road. Back at Dan’s, Shaun and I headed out, and we’re definitely ready for this year’s season to begin! Here’s a parting shot of Mark at work during the chair evac earlier in the day…

Mark lowering a patroller on Twilight