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July 2018

Mountain Spy :: July 2018

Our Mountain Spy asks a question on having medical staff on site.

Written by David Meeker | 0 comment


Several factors were discussed when we considered asking this question: more people are visiting ski areas in summer, the activities offered are often adventurous, ski areas tend to be in remote locations far from medical facilities, and “summer patrol” is a fairly new concept.

You don’t need to be a paranoid parent to wonder what would happen if your kid fell mountain biking or climbing in an adventure park at a ski area that’s miles away from civilization. In winter, there’s ski patrol. Their presence is peace of mind in and of itself. In summer, though? Having medical staff on-site isn’t a given. For this call, a “no” answer will cost points, because if you have summer activities on your mountain, you need to have someone there who is trained to provide some sort of medical attention to an injured guest or staff member.

On a positive note, of all the areas called for this Spy mission, only one didn’t have any trained medical personnel on-site at all times.

Hey, guest service folks. Yeah, you. Send me some questions you’ve heard from guests that would make a good Mountain Spy ( It doesn’t take long to do, and can be anonymous. If I use one of your questions, I promise I won’t call you.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose general.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yup! We do. We have our summer patrol. They have their own little ambulance as well as they’ll be on bikes, so we do have them. It’s not as intense as our winter patrol team, but we do have a summer patrol team and they’re all first aid certified.
SAM: Terrific! That’s great to hear.
Staff: Yeah. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, OK?
SAM: Thanks! I appreciate that. Hopefully we’ll see you this summer.
Staff: You bet. Have a great one.

Rating: 9.9
Comment: She knew the answer without hesitation. Plus, she answered the phone and spoke with a smile (which you can hear).
Runner up! Identity revealed: Silver Star


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do have bike patrol, much like our ski patrol in the winter. So if you’re doing the bike park kind of thing, we do have bike patrol. And also if you’re hiking and you have an accident, you can call dispatch and we’ll get somebody up there to come get you. It’s not as, um, comprehensive as it would be in the winter with ski patrol, and they wouldn’t necessarily treat you, but they would be able to get you down to the base and get your over to the hospital for treatment.
SAM: So if someone falls and cuts themselves up pretty good, would they be able to help?
Staff: Well, they would be there to help get you down to the base area and get you to the hospital to be treated.
SAM: Okie dokie. Thanks!

Rating: 5
Comment: She was very nice, and knew what she was talking about. But you’re just gonna let me or my kid bleed until we can get to the hospital? No, thank you.


Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Are you gonna be doing the lift assisted mountain biking?
SAM: Yeah, and some other stuff, too.
Staff: We have kind of a ski patrol in the summer, a trail crew and some first responders that are always on the mountain and on radios and that sort of thing.
SAM: That’s awesome.
Staff: Yeah, and there’s a phone number on the lift ticket that tells you where to call if there’s any kind of problem and they’re pretty quick in getting there.
SAM: That’s excellent. Not that I anticipate anything happening, but it’s good to know you guys are prepared in case something does.
Staff: Yup, we have all kinds of stuff happen that people aren’t used to having happen. But the trails are super fun. We have a lot of flow-type trails. Have you guys done them before?
SAM: Not there, no.
Staff: They’re super fun.
SAM: Alright, cool. Well, hopefully—(interrupted)
Staff: So when you go to the lift you can ask there, too. About where to go and where to call in case something happens. We even have little safety cards we can give you just to make sure you’re on top of everything.
SAM: Sounds great. Thanks!
B: Sure thing. Thanks for calling.

Rating: 9
Comment: Another well-prepared operation. Having the number to call in case of emergency right on the ticket is smart. Safety cards are a nice touch, too.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose activities.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question. (admitted to being a paranoid dad)
Staff: (In a sweet southern accent) I don’t blame you! I know a lot of our security are, what do you call it, EMTs and everything. But you want to know if we have medical people actually at the X?
SAM: Well, not necessarily. Just if something happens, like somebody falls or something and needs to be bandaged up and assessed, is there somebody on-site that can help?
Staff: Yes. Yes there is. Like I said, we have a few EMTs on staff here. And the fire department is literally only about five minutes away. We’ve had some major things happen and they’ve been here within minutes. Minutes. So, yes.
SAM: Oh, good.
Staff: I hope that eases your mind!
SAM: It does! Thank you.
Staff: You’re welcome. Hope to see you soon.

Rating: 9
Comment: Sensitive to the paranoid dad’s query, and eased his mind well. Nice job.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, this is X. (sounding impatient) Are you looking to make reservations?
SAM: Nope. This is the number I saw on the website so I called it in hopes you could answer my question.
Staff: I’m going to transfer you over to Y and they should be able to tell you about it.
SAM: Terrific. Thank you. (holding)
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: (super nice sounding) Yeah, we have first aid people who walk around. Like, when my [family member] fell, they were right there. It happened a little while ago, but she fell and somebody called on the radio to first aid and they were right there. We also have the first aid station, as well.
SAM: OK, cool.
Staff: We can handle minor emergencies. Obviously we can’t do surgery here (laughs).
SAM: (laughing) That would be quite the feat.
Staff: Yeah. We’re not a MASH unit (laughs) but we do have first aid. Not to make light of it, of course!
SAM: Not at all. Thanks for the information!
Staff: You’re welcome. Have a great day.

Rating: 8
Comment: Tough start. The first staffer sounded like she had had enough. The next lady was terrific—relatable, funny, and genuine.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, we usually have basic, you know, basic first aid. If we need to call somebody they we call our local fire department, EMS, you know, and they come with an ambulance.
SAM: Right on. So if somebody takes a spill mountain biking and needs help you guys can do that?
Staff: Yeah, definitely. We’d send a crew up and help the situation, you know, and help get anybody down that needs to get down. It depends on the extent of the injury. But we have staff that can perform basic first aid and get people down off the mountain, yeah.
SAM: OK, cool. Sounds good.
Staff: Thanks for calling!

Rating: 7
Comment: Nothing really wrong with how she answered the question, but not as reassuring as some others.


Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yes, we do. We have first aid here, and someone here all the time that’s qualified in all sorts of first aid. Is there a special need that you have to have filled?
SAM: No, I’m just coming there with my kids and wanted to make sure that if they get banged up while we’re there then someone can help. You how kids are.
Staff: A little accident prone? (laughs)
SAM: Aren’t they all?
Staff: Oh, yes. Well, there is someone here at all times when we’re open that can do first aid. Hopefully they stay safe!
SAM: I hope so too! Thanks.
Staff: Buh-bye.

Rating: 9
Comment: Reassuring and funny. I felt like I was talking to my mom.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm. We do have people here once in awhile. But the only way to answer your question is no. But we do have a hospital 20 miles away, so…
SAM: OK, gotcha. I guess we’ll hope nothing happens, then.
Staff: Yeah, think positive.

jan18 mountain spy thumbs downRating: 3
Comment: Pretty nice guy, and, of course, honest. But, really? The nearest hospital is 20 miles away, and all we can do is think positive that nobody gets hurt. Oof.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, I’m actually on the volunteer ski patrol during the winter. And from what I understand the mountain is trying to launch a summer program here as well, but I’m not quite sure where they are in that process.
SAM: Oh, nice.
Staff: I’m here at least five days a week, and I’m also an EMT with the local ambulance service here. There are a couple more people here that are also EMTs. They’re not necessarily on staff as EMTs, but they give us a call if something serious happens and we head out to help. There’s also the local EMS in the area, too.
SAM: Well, it sounds like I got the right guy on the phone!
Staff: Ha! Our recreation staff are all first aid and CPR trained. That’s part of their training. Same with the fitness and pool staff. Not to the level of EMT training, but for first aid stuff they are well equipped to handle it.
SAM: It’s nice to know that if something happens while we’re there you guys are prepared to help out.
Staff: Yup. For sure. Can I help you with anything else?
SAM: That does it for now. Hopefully you won’t need to help me while we’re there!
Staff: We’re here if need be, for sure.
SAM: Thanks!

jan18 mountain spy thumbs upRating: 10
Comment: My favorite part of what he said: “That’s part of their training.”
Winner! Identity revealed: Crystal Mountain