Sunshine Village Ropes Training

Organized Rope Rescue training at SSV

When it comes to rescues, Sunshine Village Senior Ski Patrol and Snow Safety personnel are always ready to be on the hook.

That’s because they may have to one day dangle from a rope to assist a guest or fellow staffer. Staff recently completed the resort’s annual rope rescue training course in preparation for the 2011-12 season, which is now under way.

Much like the Field ID avalanche technology, the new equipment is the most advanced equipment for rope rescue. It is used for rescue in terrain or weather where a helicopter is not the most efficient option.

“If someone were to injure themselves in a vertical environment or get themselves ‘cliffed out’, we are able to respond with our equipment and personnel regardless of weather,” said Jeremy Cox, Sunshine Village’s Senior Public Safety Supervisor.

“We have ski patrol staff on all three mountains, with rope rescue equipment located at the top of Divide and Goat’s Eye, allowing us a quick response in an emergency situation.”

The crew also works throughout the year to ensure readiness for the season.

“Bolts are installed over the summer in areas lacking natural anchor points, particularly in areas we perceive as higher-risk such as Delirium Dive.”

Training was led once again by Kirk Mauthner, the owner of Basecamp Innovations Ltd., Cox said.

Basecamp Innovations Ltd. also conducts ongoing testing, research and development, which has led to numerous equipment design innovations and improvements in technical rescue techniques which have been adopted by many countries around the world.

“He [Mauthner] designs and tests gear for Petzl, among other rope rescue oriented companies, and is basically a climbing and organized rope rescue legend,” said Cox.

Mauthner said Sunshine Village is to be commended for its progressive thinking in creating emergency response pre-plans for high risk terrain.

“Sunshine Village is practising their technical rope rescue skills in that [high risk] terrain using leading edge techniques and equipment that provides high levels of safety. In this regard, Sunshine Village pro patrol is setting an excellent example in the ski resort industry,” said Mauthner.

Cox said, while rope rescues are infrequent at Sunshine Village, the training plays a role throughout the year.

“We can pretty much count on at least one full-on rope rescue per season. However, we use the skills in some capacity several times a year,” he said. “We also practise scenarios throughout the season to stay current, sharing the skills with the less experienced members of our crew.”

Sunshine Village has recently initiated several innovative safety programs.