Woman rescued after crashing snowmobile on Rabbit Ears Pass
January 14, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers worked in harsh conditions to evacuate a woman who had been injured after crashing her snowmobile Monday afternoon.
The crash occurred on Rabbit Ears Pass on a snowmobile trail about 1.5 miles from Dumont Lake. Search and Rescue's Kristia Check-Hill said the 52-year-old woman was hurt after her snowmobile hit a tree that had fallen onto the trail and was hidden under snow. The woman was with her husband and another couple from the Silverthorne area.
Check-Hill said the snowmobile trail usually is well marked, but the orange trail markers were covered because of the snow and strong winds.
"It was almost blowing me over," Check-Hill said. "You could not be out without your goggles on."
Fortunately, it was not cold, Check-Hill said.
Search and Rescue volunteers were told about the crash at about 2:45 p.m. The injured woman's husband had cellphone service and was able to call for help. He also was able to provide GPS coordinates, which allowed rescuers to know exactly where the group was located.
The crash technically occurred in Grand County, but Search and Rescue volunteers from Routt County responded because they were able to respond more quickly, Check-Hill said.
Check-Hill went on the mission with volunteers Delbert Bostock and Jason Weber in addition to a rescuer from Grand County. They rode in using snowmobiles and found that after hitting the tree, the woman was launched forward into the sled's handlebars and windshield. She said she had pain in the lower abdomen.
Check-Hill said the woman was a trooper, but she was in no condition to sit on a snowmobile and be ridden out.
"She was in pain, but she didn't complain," Check-Hill said.
Rescuers put a vacuum splint on the woman to move her and loaded her onto a trailer towed behind a snowmobile. A Grand County ambulance then took her to Yampa Valley Medical Center.
The rescue mission ended at about 6 p.m.