Each year Middlebury hosts a graduation ceremony in the spring for regular admittance students and in February for the “Febs” or February admittance students. This Saturday, the community celebrated the graduation of the Feb class of 2015.5 as the graduates skied down the Snow Bowl, accelerating out of College and into the “real world.” Saturday morning began with the arrival of the 5 student patrollers who are working over the school vacation. Student volunteer patrollers have the option to stay around Middlebury over winter break or February break and work as professional paid patrollers. This week, Tucker Angier and Angie Walker (Ski patrol presidents) are here working with Caroline Corbally, Atticus Proctor, and Roger Winters.
We utilized the Kendrick Extrication Device for our morning training as we practiced safely immobilizing a patients neck and back and transporting them out of their seated position and onto a backboard. The KED has never been used at the Snow Bowl, but we discussed the various potential incidents that could call for the KED: car accidents on Route 125 near the snow bowl or in the parking lot, a skier injured in a tree well or below a cliff, a skier injured on the chairlift (branch falling on chair or the lift cable coming off). In our practice, Tucker was the primary responder and immobilized Atticus’s c-spine. Roger properly sized the c-collar and slid it behind Atticus’s neck and secured it. Tucker leaned Atticus forward keeping his spine in alignment while Roger slid the KED behind his back. Once Atticus was sitting upright again with the KED in place behind him, straps were secured across his chest followed by the two seat-straps that secured each in leg in seated position. Lastly, Roger secured Atticus’s head and neck to the KED using head straps and bubble wrap padding placed behind the head. Using the handles on the back of the KED and one hand on each of Atticus’s legs, Roger and Tucker safely moved Atticus out of the chair and to a backboard.
After training, Roger headed down to Rikert Nordic Center to be on call. The rest of the crew transitioned to ski gear and made a game plan. A great deal of preparation goes into graduation each winter and with little natural snow this season, we had to get to work! Atticus and Angie covered the top hut. Sean replaced propane tanks at the top of the mountain. Jeff, Tucker, and Caroline posted signage on the Ross where snow guns were active and then moved on to replacing the B netting on Cameron, to make it look real nice for graduation.
At 11:00am, the graduates arrived with their families and dawned their robes, rental equipment, and loaded the Sheehan chairlift. Atticus dressed up as the Panther to lead the graduates down the hill. The rest of patrol helped facilitate the event, guiding the graduates into position and helping them cross the icy patches. For many of the Febs skiing down, this was their first or second day on skis and the conditions made the event quite an accomplishment.