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Afterglow of the winter

The review below was written by Roy Salden, resident anesthesiology Utrecht, and participant of the first edition of Mountain Medicine Winter Edition. Can’t wait to go yourself after reading his story? Keep an eye on the website for the next edition and sign up for the newsletter!

The course catalogue of Outdoor Medicine has recently been expanded with the Mountain Medicine
Winter Edition; this first edition was one big success. It was a unique experience for all participants
where mountain sports and acute medicine came together.

The seven-day course consisted of an intensive program organized in a mountain hut at an altitude of over 2,000 meters. Each morning the mountains around the hut were explored through ski touring or split
boarding. In the afternoon skill stations were organized and interesting lectures were given before
and after dinner.

Ski touring was an experience on itself. The participants were divided into different groups and guided by local mountain guides who knew the area like the back of their hand. Even for participants who had only skied on slopes, it was a well-accessible course. During the tours, education was given on avalanche danger, mountain rescue and the mountainous environment. After all, how do you actually recognize a dangerous slope? What warnings does nature give you when avalanche risk is high? How does one examine different snow layers in the field?
The afternoon were filled with skill stations and workshops by mountain guides and Outdoor
Medicine instructors. These workshops involved practicing making emergency bivouacs, treating
patients with mountain-related accidents and scenarios on wilderness medicine. The trainees came
from very diverse backgrounds which clearly led to cross-pollination. Neither background nor level mattered. From nurses to specialists, anyone could join this adventurous course.
Before and after dinner – a daily three-course meal – lectures were given on the most interesting topics.
Speakers were Dutch-speaking and they brought tons of practical examples from their own work
fields. Obviously, the Italian guest speaker gave his presentation in English.
A variety of cases were discussed: from excursions around the world to emergencies nearby home, and from triage of patients to exciting stories about helicopter rescues. By the way, you can be sure that you will add all kinds of new gadgets to your medical equipment after this course.

It is tempting to tell more about the scenario’s, but that would spoil the fun for future participants. It
was just so exciting! … and fun to see how immediately all the freshly gained knowledge could be applied in the wilderness.

Looking back on this first edition of Mountain Medicine Winter Edition, one can say that it was an
impressive week with many awesome experiences. Blue skies, good atmosphere, sun-drenched
Dolomites, learning theory and breathing thin air. What an adventure!