February 3, 2024 – OEC Final & Sled Checks

The first weekend in February rolled in with high pressure and sunshine, which meant groomers in the morning along with some possible soft snow on the south faces in the afternoon at the Pass. As usual, I headed up early with Shaun, and after a quick stop at Dan’s, we made our way to the Pass. Both he and I were up to help out with the OEC final, and Shaun was on SPY duty for the day. After a quick morning meeting, we headed out to help open the mountain.

Patrollers waiting to load EPA
Anna ready to open up top

The sun made for a great opportunity to fire off some pictures at the top of EPA, so I wasted little time getting the camera out and snapped several shots of the various patrollers staging at the top of EPA where the OEC final would be taking place.

Ian and Joe chatting at opening
Joe and Ian talking about OEC and Sled Check-offs

The plan was for a pretty big day, and we started off with a couple of practice scenarios with the candidates where they worked on assessment and basic injuries with one of the instructors to get the blood flowing.

Hannah talking with the candidates
Amber stabilizing an arm injury on Dan

I worked with Amber while she provided treatment to Dan who had an upper extremity injury. Near the end of the process, I snapped a few photos of her rendering aid to Dan as well as Emily who was treating Andy.

Emily and Andy after a practice round
Instructors discussing scenarios

After a couple of practice rounds it was time to do it for real. The instructors discussed over the scenarios and then called the candidates in one by one to provide treatment while they were observed and evaluated. I was tasked with evaluating, so it was time to put the camera away and get serious.

Althea and Meghan waiting for the final
Readying for the final exams

Each candidate had to pass two separate and distinct scenarios, so there would be several scenarios to perform for the next few hours, since they each needed to lead two scenarios but also to assist on others. Everyone did a great job, and we wrapped up our work around 1:30. By then everyone was pretty hungry, so we headed down to the patrol room to grab a quick bite to eat and then I headed back out to check-in on the sled check-offs that Joe was helping with.

Kerstin running down Charlie for a sled check
Toby and Kerstin running a loaded toboggan

I was keen to get a few pictures because Shaun was taking his first runs in the sled as ballast and I wanted to get a few shots of him in the toboggan. As usual, he had his serious face on when I pulled out the camera. Toby and Kerstin did awesome in the handles and tail rope, and made short work of taking the sled down Charlie.

Sled check on Charlie
Shaun being ballast

I fired off a few more pictures as they worked their way down the run, and then it was time to ski it out and take the sled back to base so we could get ready for Peak 2 sweep. Shaun and I caught up with Dan in time to head over to Peak 2, and we headed down to catch the chair back up just in time for sweep.

Sled checks on Good Time
Heading down Escalator before sweep
Peak 2 Closing with Gretchen, Matt & Dan

Peak 2 sweep went off smoothly and after sweeping the runs and heading back up the chairlift to the top, everyone hiked over to the top of EPA for upper mountain sweep. The evening light was looking really nice, so I was able to coax several of our new Patrollers and a few of our Alpiners to post for a picture. After snapping a few shots, James took a picture of me and Shaun at the top as well.

Closing crew at the top of EPA
Matt & Shaun at closing

Right at closing, we got a call regarding a possible injury at the big corner, so I headed down while Dan waited up top to bring the sled down in case it was needed. After making my way to the corner, I told Dan to bring the sled down, but that we probably wouldn’t need it as the person I was working with had fallen but was more scared than anything given her friends had already went down and she was on the run all by herself. She was shaking and trembling, but it was quickly apparent it was from nerves, and after some encouragement and coaxing she was doing the falling leaf all the way down KP. We made it to the bottom without incident, and she was stoked to see her friends waiting for her near the patrol room.

Dan closing KP with a sled in tow

We held our evening meeting, and after debriefing the day’s events, it was time to enjoy a cold beer and get a few pictures of our new patrollers. My beer of choice for the evening was a Hayseed Hazy IPA from Chief’s Brew House, which is brewed literally just down the street from my house. It definitely hit the spot after a long day!

Hayseed Hazy IPA

After cracking open my beer and getting a couple bites of chips and dip, we quickly determined we needed to get a few shots of our new Patrollers. Our 5 new patrollers, all women, totally rocked the OEC final and I can’t think of a greater group of folks to have added to our ranks. Below are a couple of shots of Althea, Amber, Hailey, Emily and Megan. Congratulations ladies!

5 New Willamette Pass Patrollers!
A goof shot of our new patrollers!

We spent the next half hour or so enjoying the company of patrol, enjoying our cold beer and eating some good food, before it was time to clean up the patrol room and get ready to hit the road. All in all, it was another fun day on the mountain with great people. Here’s a few parting shots from the day…

OEC Final at the top of EPA
Parting shot of Kerstin and Toby pulling Shaun down Good Time