Paramedics praise conduct of one million snowgoers

THE 2012 snow season has ended and the extra Ambulance Service paramedics deployed to the ski resorts are returning to their stations with praise for the good and safe conduct of the more than one million snowgoers.

While paramedics again assisted people with trauma or medical emergencies and made a few ventures beyond resort boundaries into the alpine back country, they're clearly happy it was only a very small number who needed their help.

Paul Thompson, snow team leader, said the risk management and safety provided by Ski Patrol and Mountain Operations minimised the risks and incidents throughout the season.

"Skiing and boarding are extreme sports and, considering around 1.2 million people visit during the 18 weeks, the percentage of visitors injured is quite small," Mr Thompson said.

"This is the 25th year of snowfield operations for Ambulance and we believe this annual migration of snow lovers is the largest continual sporting event for NSW each year.

"It's always great to see such a low number of injuries."

Paramedics provided cover alongside Ski Patrol to skiers, snowboarders and tobogganists in the resort areas.

Ski Patrol were generally the first on scene and the call paramedics as required to specific pick up points within the resort.

Paramedics also accessed and treated adventure seekers injured in back country areas, often alongside the Police Alpine Operations Unit, using specialised snow vehicles like an all-terrain vehicle, an over-snow vehicle, two skidoos and snow capable 4WD vehicles and trailers.

Ambulance also assisted local residents, workers and the many motorists who travelled from far and wide to visit the region.

Snowfield paramedics treated 231 patients during 220 responses in 2012, several for patients with significant injuries due to accidents involving trees and rocks as well as collisions with each other. Included in the statistics were: 152 trauma cases and 55 medical emergencies; 15 long distance transports to local and regional trauma hospitals, including six patients evacuated by helicopter; and three back country responses.

"Perisher Valley and The Kosciusko National Park are spectacular and unique environments where weather conditions change frequently and without warning, creating unique challenges to snowfield paramedics," Mr Thompson said.

"But it's an amazing season that allows paramedics to practice their profession, utilising their abilities, skills and experience in elements presenting a number challenges."

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