Michelle Madderom Mackey: EMTs needed


— In May, I passed my National Emergency Medical Technician Basic exam in hopes of continuing to work at Howelsen Hill as a ski patroller. After growing up in Steamboat and being a part of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for more than 10 years, I wanted to give back. I started patrolling at Howelsen in 2007 and enjoy it immensely.

Unfortunately, this year, after having obtained my EMT-B, I am unable to utilize my skills because there is no medical direction for the patrol at Howelsen. Meetings with city personal determined it was not necessary to ascertain this position.

Without medical direction, my skills are useless. I am unable to assist a child with the use of their Epinephrine pen in the event they have an allergic reaction or their inhaler if they have an asthma attack. As an EMT-B, I must contact a physician before assisting someone in using these medical tools. This is mandated by the Department of Transportation, which oversees the Emergency Medical System. According to "Emergency Care and Transport of the Sick and Injured," ninth edition, any EMS system (such as Howelsen) must have medical direction in order to provide services to the sick and injured. Without the direction of a physician, I am unable to assist during certain emergencies and must rely on the quick response of the fire department.

Many patrollers at Howelsen Hill have years of EMT experience and knowledge. Unfortunately, we become first responders, and our ability to assist becomes diminished. This is in no means a knock on our hard-working fire department, but if a patroller could control an asthma attack or reduce an allergic reaction prior to their arrival, I am sure they would appreciate the assistance.

Patrollers at Howelsen are not working there for the pay or the notoriety. We patrol because we have a passion.

I worked hard to obtain my EMT-B, and this was my way to give back to the program that has provided me with so many life lessons. The news was disheartening indeed; for weeks, I tried to succumb to the news and explore other options. The pit in my stomach has not gone away. I am asking the community for help.

Some may think having EMTs at Howelsen is overkill, but I disagree. There are hundreds of kids at Howelsen on any given day, and it should be held to the highest standard of safety. Let's make Howelsen a safe place to recreate and train and utilize the skills many patrollers have and want to provide if the situation arises.

If you are interested in more information, contact me at Steamboatskir@aol.com.

Michelle Madderom Mackey

Steamboat Springs


Martha D Young 8 years, 4 months ago

Thank you, Michelle, for writing your informative letter. It is my understanding that the Howelsen Hill Ski Patrol (HHSP) has been without medical direction since its inception; and it is the only emergency medical service in Routt County without medical direction. Members of HHSP can only deliver medical services within the scope of practice of the Outdoor Emergency Care certification. That means that the treatments (and others) mentioned above by Michelle are not available to users of Howelsen Hill. Without medical direction HHSP members cannot participate in continuing medical education and don't have opportunities to practice their medical skills under supervision. Let's hope that Michelle's letter will encourage users of Howelsen Hill winter facilities to put pressure on the city to provide medical supervision for HHSP.


Scott Wedel 8 years, 4 months ago

What does "provide medical supervision for HHSP" mean?

Does it mean that the City has to hire a doctor to work there?

Is this an attempt by employees at Howelson to be reclassified into much higher paying jobs than ski patrol?

Is it basically a matter of submitting paperwork of a plan and getting it approved?


Martha D Young 8 years, 4 months ago

Scott: A medical supervisor is an emergency department doctor (at Yampa Valley Medical Center) who reviews incident reports and assumes responsibility for medical services provided by an agency. The Steamboat Ski Corp has a medical director, as do the five ambulance and fire services in Routt County. The doctor is not a member of the ski patrol (or ambulance service) and does not work at the supervised agency. Having a medical director does not affect the classification or pay of ski patrollers. The procedure for setting up medical direction already exists within the city, but I do not know what it is.


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