Do you call 911? Dial ski patrol directly? We have answers for you—and phone numbers of who to call for help at some of our favorite ski areas.
We’ve all been there. You’re skiing inbounds with a friend, and they fall and blow their knee or dislocate a shoulder. Or maybe you come across a stranger on the slopes who’s hurt and needs help. Or perhaps you witness an inbounds avalanche or a cornice collapse on a back bowl and you’re not sure if anyone was caught. It’s tough to stay calm and do the right thing when you’re in an emergency situation like that. Knowing who to call for help ahead of time can be time saving and potentially lifesaving.
In any emergency, you can always dial 9-1-1. But if you’re inside a ski resort boundary during normal winter operating hours (typically 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), most resorts list their emergency dispatch number for exactly that reason. It’s the most direct way to an immediate response.
“The best course is to have the ski patrol dispatch number in your phone ahead of time,” says Mike Buotte, Big Sky Ski Patrol’s snow safety director. “Calling ski area injuries into 9-1-1 can tax EMS resources and ski area dispatch is usually a cleaner, quicker response.”
When you call for help, be ready with the nature of the injury and your exact location on the mountain, if you know it, or what lifts or identifiable features you can see if you don’t. Providing your jacket color or a basic description of yourself can be helpful as well. “Also make sure that ski area dispatch has your number for a potential call-back,” adds Buotte.
Ski resorts with their own apps often have emergency pages on the app that gives skiers their precise location and the direct number for ski patrol dispatch. “If you have your location services turned on, the app will tell you your latitude and longitude and we can use that to pinpoint your location on the mountain,” says Kat O’Neil, the dispatch manager at Palisades Tahoe who’s worked ski patrol dispatch for 14 years. “Those location services can also help if you get lost on the mountain or end up out of bounds.”
O’Neil says calling dispatch directly, versus 9-1-1, saves time. “We’ve had plenty of experiences where people call 9-1-1 and it goes to a bigger switchboard, then they have to be connected to us. Calling us takes out that extra few minutes. It’s a one-step process versus a three-step process,” she says.
At your home hill, look up the number for your ski patrol dispatch to report on-hill emergencies or call for help. If you’re traveling somewhere, it might be worth adding that resort’s number to your contacts as well. To save you some time, here are ski patrol emergency numbers at some of our favorite ski areas. Stay safe out there.
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming: 307-739-2650
- Aspen Highlands, Colorado: 970-544-3052
- Loveland, Colorado: 303-571-5580 ext. 101
- Crested Butte, Colorado: 970-349-2236
- Vail, Colorado: 970-754-1911
- Big Sky, Montana: 406-995-5880
- Snowbird, Utah: 801.933.2096
- Alta, Utah: 385-449-8633
- Snowbasin, Utah: 801-620-1017
- Solitude, Utah: 801.536.5753
- Sugarbush, Vermont: 802-583-6567
- Killington, Vermont: 802-422-1243
- Mad River Glen, Vermont: 802-989-0012
- Loon Mountain, New Hampshire: 603-745-6359
- Sugarloaf, Maine: 207-237-6994
- Sunday River, Maine: 207-824-5350
- Palisades Tahoe, California: 530-452-7145
- Alpine Meadows, California: 530-581-8222
- Sugar Bowl, California: 530-426-6727
- Mammoth Mountain, California: 760-934-0611
- Crystal Mountain, Washington: 360-663-3064
- Schweitzer, Idaho: 208-603-2173
- Taos, New Mexico: 575-776-2291 ext. 2211
- Mount Rose, Nevada: 775-849-0704 ext. 280