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Lauren’s Mountain First Response experience with Ski le Gap

It has been a great start to the 2017/18 winter season. Here’s gapper Lauren’s take on gaining her Mountain First Response (first aid on the slopes) certification included on all our courses…

It was a bitterly cold day in Mont Tremblant so all of us were bundled up like burritos to stay warm! But, despite the weather, I couldn’t be more excited. We were set to spend the day learning firsthand from the Patrouille de Ski (Ski Patrol) in our Mountain First Response course. Although I’ve been a skier most of my life, I’d never had an opportunity like this!

Maurice, the Head Patroller, had already introduced himself to the gappers the previous week and had graciously welcomed us to drop by and say hello to the patrol main office on the Tremblant summit. We were encouraged to ask questions about mountain conditions, safety concerns, and tips regarding the best slopes of the day for optimum skiing.

Once we all filtered into the sitting area of the ski patrol base, Maurice stood and began the lesson. First, we were taught essential skills for emergency situations on the mountain, such as how to secure the area of an accident, first aid, and the use of basic ski patrol tools like limb splints and the backboard/vacuum mat evacuation gear. The Mountain First Response skills we learnt are not only helpful for on the mountain, they could be applied to any kind of emergency.

In the afternoon, it was time to head outside and learn how to drive a toboggan, the Canadian term for blood wagon. It took two people (along with a bit of strength and dexterity) to maneuver each toboggan onto the chairlift, but we were successful in transporting them to the top of the mountain. Piloting the heavy toboggans was no easy task either, but, with some guidance from the supervising patrollers about proper technique, we were each able to take turns driving, riding, and spotting from behind. Eventually, we all navigated to the bottom safely! It was tiring work but a fantastic way to gain insight into what is expected in the daily routine of a ski patroller.

Afterwards, we were able to accompany the ski patrol for the last sweep of the mountain before the resort closed for the day. During the sweep, the views were spectacular as the sun set over Mont Tremblant, with no other skiers or snowboarders on the mountain to disturb the calm. It was an excellent photo opportunity and an even better way to end the day!

Diary entry from Lauren Lucas (Ski le Gap Ultimate Ski Experience 2018)

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