No matter how slick you are on the slopes, you should know what to do if you or someone you know gets in a bind. Keystone Ski Patrol Director Craig Simson helped answer questions about slope snafus and gave important mountain tips everyone should know.
Before the Question and Answer session, let's review some basic safety tips.
1. Every skier and snowboarder should carry a cell phone and map (or EpicMix app), if possible. Vail Resorts maps have help
hotline printed right on the page. And when you call, you'll have a better chance of being able to tell patrol where you are with that trusty map in hand. 2. Stay hydrated. Aside from the obvious reasons fordrinking plenty of water, your level of hydration can affect your ability to think and compensate for the cold.3. Make a plan and stick to it. If you're heading to the mountain alone, let someone know where you plan to ski and what time you'll call them when you're done for the day. Then, stick to the plan! 4. Safety patrol is always there when you need them. Give them a call or flag one down if you ever need assistance.On to the questions. Q. What do I do if I get hurt (with a non-life-threatening injury) on the slopes and need assistance?A. Call safety patrol. Describe your injury and where you are located. If you do not know the safety patrol number, call 911. Flag down a passerby if you do not have a phone or are not sure which run you are on. Another option is to locate the red emergency phones located on many of the Vail Resorts trails which provide quick, direct access to Safety Patrol. Q. What should I do if I come across someone who needs assistance?A. First, stop and find out what is wrong. Safety patrol will need to know the nature of the injury in order to determine which tools and equipment are needed. Also, take note of where they are and what they are wearing. Next, call the Safety Patrol Hotline or 911. Q. Is there a universal sign to signal for help?A. For skiers, crossed skis usually signify a skier in trouble. For snowboarders, mounting the board to stand vertically in the snow can mean the same thing. If there are others around, the best way to get help is to wave your arms and flag someone down.
Q. I can't find my friend. What should I do?A. Alert Safety Patrol. Many times, once the friend is found, it takes just as long to track you down again and tell you to stop searching. So leave a note on your car (or condo door, meeting spot, etc) with instructions on where your missing-in-action friend should go and the phone number at which they can reach you if they make it back to your meeting spot. Q. If I've lost my car keys (or credit card, camera, anything), what should I do?A. Call the lost and found phone number at any Vail Resort:Vail (970) 479-3059Beaver Creek (970) 845-5874Keystone (970) 496-3463Breckenridge (970) 496-7211Heavenly 1-800-HEAVENLY ext. 6267All of these answers and tips are things you probably knew before but a little safety reinforcement never hurt. Drink water, bring a map and cell phone, stick to the plan, and know that Safety Patrol is always there when you need them! Have fun out there!
-- Kristina Lisowski
Photos courtesy of Breckenridge Ski Resort and Skistar Trysil