I had helicopter training for Teton County Search and Rescue up at Togwotee this weekend. The roads were solid ice at Moran Junction and we saw a trailer jackknifed off the road…just missing the GTNP entrance sign.
We brought up the team snowmobiles, including four shiny new Skidoo 800’s that are very nice. The team divided up into groups and the plan was to set up multiple LZs and do a bunch of loads and unloads. In between pick-ups, we were to buzz around on the sleds and hone our riding skills.
We had a quick brief on the helicopter with our new pilot Matt. Humorously, the heli’s call sign is 7M3 (seven Mary three)…just like CHIPS. The transitions went smooth and the sled worked well for packing out the LZ’s. We’ve had a lot of new snow lately and it blew everywhere upon take-off and landing. Once again though, the snowmobiles proved to be a weakness of some members of the team. The deep, fresh snow continually bogged down the machines and kept the ship waiting. They are an important part of our resources cuz a lot of our call-outs in the winter are snowmobile related.
And what do you know? At about 4PM, not 10 minutes after getting home from training did we get a call-out- for an injured snowmobiler…back up at Togwotee. I unhappily put down my freshly poured drink and put on some extra layers before heading out for the hour long drive. The sun was going down so we had to send the heli back to the airport and the temperature had to be hovering near zero.
The rescue went quick. A rider had gotten bucked off his ride and tumbled down a steep embankment…he was 71. He complained of back pain so he was packaged up and hauled back up to the trail and placed in our snowmobile rescue trailer. We had him in the ambulance in less than two hours from the call-out…not bad considering the distance from town.