View from a Sled

Once Ski Patrol is summoned, they can arrive at your side within a matter of minutes

Once Ski Patrol is summoned, it is usually a matter of minutes from the hut to the slope

This week, my Monday morning started off in an ordinary Monday kind of way. A little rushed, a bit overcast. I was off to the mountain at 9 a.m. to join up with the DIVAS, my women’s ski group lesson — always a highlight of my week. The usual. An hour and a half later, though, the day had become extraordinary, in the truest sense of the world.

On a groomed run, concentrating on a technique the instructor has just outlined, my bottom ski got away from me and down I went. Falling goes part and parcel with skiing or snowboarding, especially if you are trying something new, pushing yourself a bit. I fall a few times every year which I actually think is good because it means I am not being complacent. Normally, I take a tumble, get up, laugh at myself and shake it off. This one was different. The moment I lost control of my ski, it hurt, and not in the same way that just hitting the snow and taking a good slide down the hill hurts.

Rich Bauer, my new best friend

Ski Patrol's Rich Bauer doing what he does best

While I personally know many of the fine people on Sun Valley’s outstanding Ski Patrol, only once before have I had an “official” interaction with them. A few years ago, when one of my daughters fell jumping a ski gun lip on College, she landed face first and left the snow splattered with blood. Ski Patrol was called, she got the ok, and off we went.

My wonderful teacher called up to Ski Patrol (208.622.6262) as I sat on the slope, dumbfounded at my dumb luck, surrounded by a great, supportive group of women. Within minutes, my knights in shining white-crossed uniforms, Rich Bauer and Barry Irwin, arrived on “the scene.”

Rich, a Paramedic and member of Wood River Fire & Rescue (one of 15 firefighters on Patrol) is married to a DIVAS member, so we chatted about that as he assessed the damage. He, Barry (a ten year Ski Patrol vet), and I determined that skiing down was not an option, so I enjoyed (yes, a euphemism, but it really wasn’t scary) my first sled ride off the hill. The boys bundled me into the toboggan, gave me a warm blanket, and wrapped the waterproof outer layer. Barry even shared his gloves with me as my mittens had gotten soaked in the snow, and pulled the sleigh with bare hands. Throughout the process, from our initial contact, to the determination that a ride was necessary, to the release interview at the base of Warm Springs, Rich and Barry were kind, compassionate, consummate professionals. I expected no less given Ski Patrol’s stellar reputation, but now I can attest to it first-hand.

Warm, cared for and calm, off we go

Warm, cared for, and calm ... off we go

Accidents happen, and if you do happen to need assistance on Baldy or Dollar, there is no better team to have behind you than Sun Valley Ski Patrol, our first responders and the medical staff at St. Luke’s Wood River Hospital. From the moment you need help, to the arrival of Ski Patrol, to delivery (if needed) to our amazing EMS and Paramedics, and the hand-off to a world-class group of doctors and nurses, you will be treated with care, respect, and kindness, all while receiving the best medical attention possible.

Thank you to Rich and to Barry, to my fellow DIVAS and coaches, to Annie and Dr. Keith at St. Luke’s for making what could have been a worrisome experience very manageable and as painless as possible – literally and figuratively.


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