Flight For Life already responding to ski mountain emergencies

Local News

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The ski season is just getting started, but Flight For Life Colorado teams are already responding to a number of life-or-death incidents on the mountains.

FOX31’s Nicole Fierro met one-on-one with the Summit County’s flight for life assistant nurse manager Peter Werlin.

Before spending decades on the Flight For Life team, Werlin grew up as the son of Loveland Ski Area’s general manager for 28 ski seasons.

“Everything we did as kids was around the ski season, so this is my 24th ski season with Flight For Life,” Werlin said.

Summit County’s flight for life assistant nurse manager Peter Werlin. (Credit: KDVR)

Growing up in the mountains, Werlin knows how incredible and important skiing is in Colorado. He also knows how dangerous it can get with the snowpack situation this year.

“I’ve done a double boot-top fracture of a guy who said, ‘That’s the trail I always went on,'” Werlin said. “Well, there was just enough snow to cover the tree. His feet went both underneath the tree and he snapped both of his legs at the boot top.”

While the 2021 winter season is just starting, Werlin said his team has already responded to a half-dozen emergencies on the ski mountains. With less snow, he said there are going to be more skiers and boarders sharing fewer trails.

“We see a lot of people impaired with alcohol and marijuana, and you add that to people going 40 to 35 mph in a crowded area with kids, and somebody is going to get hurt,” Werlin said. “To just see the faces when you’re working on their child or their parent who’s suffered a tremendous injury, I just feel so bad, because they’re there for fun.”

Werlin said kids should never be going out without professional lessons and everyone should have a helmet on.

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