“If you are an EMT, paramedic, member of a search and rescue team, ski patrol or just love wilderness medicine and rescue—this is your conference!” proclaims the program for the Ski and Mountain Trauma Conference, currently underway at the Sun Valley Resort.
For the eighth year, the St. Alphonsus Health System has brought the big show to Sun Valley, inviting first responders of all varieties, physicians, ski patrol and others who work with those who work and play in the outdoors to a three-day, jam-packed conference covering topics as diverse at managing frostbite and hypothermia prevention to creative splinting to gondola rescue techniques. The sessions, held at the Sun Valley Inn, are small and hands-on featuring simulations and presentations from national and regional experts. Hundreds come from all over the state and region to participate.
Sun Valley-area EMTs, paramedics, ski patrol and doctors look forward to this conference every year.
“Every single one of the classes I have been to has been applicable,” explained Ketchum firefighter and paramedic Lara McLean. “I usually do the whole weekend because what is offered is really relevant to where we live and the patients we see. From pediatric trauma to brain injury to dislocation management to myocardial contusion, the topics they cover matter to what we do — whether you are a ski patrolman, paramedic, or physician. There are many choices for whatever line of work you are in.”
Whiz McNeal, who has been on Sun Valley Ski Patrol since 1975 and is a ropes expert and training officer, said the fact that the conference happens here is huge incentive to attend and to keep learning.
“This conference is great because it doesn’t require time off or travel and it is really relevant to our valley and to our guests,” Whiz said. “There are lots of opportunities for continuing education, certifications and for learning about new protocols. It’s very dynamic and a good way to keep up with all the current science and information. Ski patrol is encouraged to attend and most do.”
This year, Sun Valley Ski Patrol partnered with the conference to offer gondola rescue demonstrations. Conference participants will shuttle to River Run on Baldy to learn how our fantastic patrol prepares for weather, equipment malfunctions and individual illness that can create situations where evacuation of the gondola becomes critical. On display is patrol’s special equipment and expertise.
This conference, according to attendees, is also a great networking and social weekend – the chance to catch up with other professionals and learn from each other. The schedule builds in opportunities for meals and down time where participants can compare notes and share information.
For all of us who live and recreate in the beautiful mountains that surround this valley, knowing that our first responders, ski patrol and other professionals have access to this conference is great news. The Sun Valley Inn is jammed with motivated people who care deeply about what they do and who will finish the conference on Saturday afternoon having been exposed to the latest, greatest information that will benefit everyone.
Thanks to all the participants for committing to continuing their education, and to Sun Valley for hosting this conference. Let the snow season (safely) begin!