People in Valemount, specifically those who in enjoy the bike park, can ride a little easier knowing emergency personnel are prepared for the worst.
The department paid $3,000 roughly a month ago for a wheeled stretcher, Fire Chief Rick Lalonde says, noting the set-up comes with a stretcher, backboard, spine-board and wheel.
“In the event that somebody gets seriously injured up there, which will happen eventually, there is no really good way of getting somebody out,” says Lalonde.
“Especially if they’re incapacitated — it’s really a difficult thing for four or five people to carry someone around,” he says.
While the department hasn’t had many calls related to mountain bikers just yet, Lalonde says the crew has experienced the need for this equipment first-hand.
One of the department’s people was hurt on the hill about a day before the stretcher arrived, according to Lalonde, so timing was a tad off.
The injured crewmember ended up riding his bike down the mountain with a shattered shoulder, says Lalonde, as biking the trails was smoother than walking.
In the event of an accident on the hill, Lalonde says Valemount Fire Department would be called out to assist B.C. Ambulance. Depending on where someone gets injured, it could make for quite the trek out, he says.
“We have the ability to make everybody’s life a little bit easier with this,” he says.
VARDA says the bike park receives roughly 1,000 visitors per month.