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On 10 Feb 2003 at 16:26, Jon Martin wrote:

> I know somewhere in the last month we have had some posts on
> helicopter evacuation of ski accident victims.  So here's a first hand
> story from this weekend.

(snip)

> We called for help via a cell phone and 10 minutes after we reached
> the slope the guy came with the sled.  In Switzerland there is no ski
> patrol as we would recognize in the US.

(snip)

Similar in most parts of Europe.  Some patrols work for the
lift company (that's the case in Courchevel, which is a
client of mine) but others may be contracted services or
employees of the town.

In the US, helis are generally used for evacuation of only
the most critical patients - and it's pretty rare for an LZ to
be set up on the mountain; generally, helis are used to
transport seriously injured skiers and riders from the base
of the mountain to more advanced medical facilities than
those offered at the mountain or nearby.

In Europe it's quite different.  Depending on where an
injury occurs, patrollers may call in a heli even for things
we consider comparatively benign - for two reasons:  first,
some mountain locations don't lend themselves to easy
sled evacuation, and second, most European nations have
some form of socialized medicine.  This means that the
government generally picks up the tab for the heli service -
assuming you're a citizen of the nation in which you got
biffed.  This is a primary reason why it's VERY important
for persons buying lift tickets in Europe to pay the extra
Euro or two for rescue insurance.  Americans aren't
covered over there, and your medical insurance may look
askance at the idea of your taking a helicopter to get off
the mountain after tweaking your knee.

skip

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