Backcountry Medical Care Requires Partnerships and Advanced Training: We live in Idaho because we love the outdoors – hiking, boating, hunting, skiing and other activities we share with family and friends.

We also know that it only takes one misstep, one accident or bad move on the slopes to become seriously injured. When a traumatic injury occurs, having the best-trained and best-equipped first responders with access to a world-class trauma hospital can make the difference between life and death.

We’ve experienced backcountry trauma firsthand, both as a victim and as a first responder. Southern Idaho is fortunate to have a Level II Trauma Center located less than an hour away by air, at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. There, a multi-disciplinary trauma team is always standing by to treat the most serious injuries. Whether you arrive by air or ground ambulance, Saint Alphonsus provides the highest level of care between Salt Lake City and Portland.

One key to successful treatment at the hospital is the quality of the care administered by the first responders. And that’s where Saint Alphonsus is helping as well. They sponsor the annual Ski and Mountain Trauma Conference, where experts from all over the country and from around the world gather in Sun Valley to share the latest techniques, equipment and training for paramedics, ski patrollers and other first responders. If you’re hurt in the back country, you want the first people on the scene to know exactly what to do.

The Conference not only provides enhanced training, it gives representatives from multiple agencies an opportunity to meet and discuss shared challenges and solutions. This multiagency, multidisciplinary approach means when help arrives, even if the first responders are from different agencies, they’re able to communicate and utilize the same practices and treatment.

The goal is to stabilize and then transport the patient to the trauma center as quickly as possible. Backcountry first responders are resourceful and know the terrain; if immediate transport isn’t an option, they have to know how to best keep the accident victim comfortable and stabilized.

Those are skills taught in the Ski and Mountain Trauma Conference.

We know that having the best-trained first responders, backed by the region’s only Level II Trauma Center, those who work and play in our beautiful state have an added level of confidence that if the unexpected happens, top-rate medical attention is available. We’re pleased to support the 13th Annual Ski and Mountain Trauma Conference, November 1-3 in Sun Valley. And we thank the Saint Alphonsus Trauma Center for continuing to partner with our local first responders to bring this conference to the Wood River Valley.

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Chris duPont is a long-time Wood River Valley resident and has twice suffered severe injuries while recreating in Idaho, requiring medical attention at a trauma center.

Chris Stephens is a Wood River Valley entrepreneur, active outdoorsman and is a licensed paramedic.


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