Practice makes perfect

Staff at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort have taken time to practice specialized rescue situations at the resort.

Safety Manager of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Mike Rubenstein hangs below a helicopter during gondola rescue training at the resort.

It was a day of training at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort as a helicopter was on sight to give rescue staff a chance to practice gondola rescues.

Mike Rubenstein is the Safety Manager of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

“We have multiple different systems we can use for gondola evacuation systems we can use,” Rubenstein said.

He explained they can climb a tower and slide down a cable to the gondola before lowering people to the ground. However the group had the chance to use the helicopter to lower a rescuer to the top of a gondola to aid in the rescue.

Rubenstein added the relationship between the Golden and District Search and Rescue and the resort has always been important.

“Search and Rescue owns the gear for this rescue but since it is such a good relationship we are able to use it for gondola evacuations,” he said.

The group has been working hard to take the time to practice this type of rescue to make sure it is safe for everyone involved.

“The training is critical. How do you do something for real if you do not train with it. That is when accidents can occur,” Rubenstein said.

He added the resort takes all factors into account before making the decision on when practices are going to happen on the hill.

He also said this type of practice is helpful for difficult to reach areas on the mountain where both the terrain and weather come into play during a rescue.

“We can choose to put people down on a road where there is a truck waiting as opposed to lowering someone to the terrain and then getting them out,” he said.

Rubenstein added in his opinion the system is an amazing tool that helps lower the risk in certain situations where rescue time is an important factor.