Zermatt Helicopter Rescue 1978
On a trip to Chamonix and Zermatt with the Hudson Valley Ski Club

The day before it snowed so much we didn't ski. Charles and Maria Silvan came up from Geneva
to lunch at this restaurant named after Edward Whymper, who made the first ascent of Matterhorn in 1865.
Me, Charles & Maria, Bill Spencer (hidden), Rudy Kopecky, Bill Washburn ...

The next day, all refreshed, we set out into the deep spring snow, and I a caught an edge,
fet no pain, but knew something was wrong.
The rescue was a lot different than at US ski areas, I think due to the scale of the
mountains. It took a couple of our guys an hour to find the ski patrol. Fortunately
my other buddy stayed by.
As my pain increased, a physician skier offered to give my a pain medication.
I was suspicious and thanked him no. The next time he stopped by I felt a lot
different and accepted. He gave my a dose on a sugar cube, explained the Rx
and the dose to me and my friends.
Once the patrol got to me, he explained Option 1: On a stretcher, he'd have to
ski down to one lift to transfer me to a lift on another peak, and it could take
3 or 4 hours. Option 2: Get the helicopter from the base.
As a patient and a pilot, I got a goosebumps thrill to actually hear the
turbine spooling up down in the valley!

Yes, that's me - dislocated hip, ski buddy John over me, Ski Patrol on right
One of the guys from the Kingston club took the pictures since I was "off duty" as the club photographer...

Biting on a leather glove offered to me. Even with my pain, I thought that was too dramatic...
until I bit all the way through it!
The other guy from Kingston helping on the right...

The options: 2-3 hours to get me to the base by sled...or a quick helicopter ride!
Guess which one I chose!

Notice helicopter door open in assistant's anticipation of low visibility...

Skis stuck in the snow so they won't blow away...

What a great ride! That's the back of my head in the rear window...

This particular Alouette III helicopter is famous.
[See Its History]    [2002 Non-Fatal Crash]

I caught up with Bernd via Facebook and email in January 2017, and was able to thank him!!!

Regionalspital St. Maria in Visp (Viege)
See the windsock on the roof where we landed...

I had a surrealistic visit in the hospital. After the rooftop ER and
I guess some drugs, they rolled me into xray. I knew I was hallucinating
when I thought the xray tech was a cute California blond.
Turns out, she actually was!...on sabbatical from California!
Thank goodness IBM paid about $350 for the "ambulance ride"!
They knocked me out on the spot and relocated the hip.

The pain is gone!...

On the way to the Geneva Airport 2 days later.
Maria, a ground hostess for Swissair, arranged for me to have 3 seats all to myself!

A present from trip leader Bill Spencer. It still hangs in my PC room!

Back at JFK in a wheelchair with Bill & John. Then I got up after customs...

That didn't stop me from going on the Martha's Vineyard trip!

2016 Documentary on Air Zermatt - Incredible Footage

Air-Zermatt Website

Back to Slide Shows