Emergency Sled Construction

With a partner (whether a fellow classmate or otherwise), construct an emergency sled, then transport a "patient" a short distance on snow -- whether skiing down a gentle grade (e.g., ski area beginner slope), skinning across some flats (e.g., ski area base), or (preferably) some combination of the two.

The transportation (with a real person along for the ride) should be long enough to see how well your sled will hold up over some distance.  You will soon learn that with any emergency sled that involves attachments to skis, periodic readjustment and/or retightening is critical.  Otherwise, even the most solidly constructed ski-based emergency sled will soon loosen up and fall apart from the forces of being towed while skiing or skinning.

Document this exercise with some pictures (and bonus points for YouTube video, especially POV).

Emergency sled styles can be divided up into a few categories:
  1. Completely improvise using whatever gear you would typically carry with you, with the patient's skis forming the runners of the sled.  This is by far the most difficult sled to construct well, but the key advantage is that you do not have to rely on additional gear.  See the Volken book for details.
  2. Brooks-Range rescue sled, with the patient's skis once again forming the runners of the sled.  (An older basic model is available to borrow from the course IOR -- also for sale from Brooks-Range are a lighter model and a model with an integrated tarp.)  This is essentially a far more secure and easily deployed version of the typical improvised approach.
  3. K2 Rescue Shovel Plus (available to borrow from the IOR), which is essentially halfway in between the above two options (and with a weight penalty of only a couple ounces over just the shovel).  The setup is optimized for K2 and La Sportiva skis, along with whatever other models might have similar tip and tail holes. In a real emergency, you could use a hex-driven drill bit to bore holes in the patient's skis (included in the IOR's shovel), and for practice you can just drill holes with a 15/64" bit in some old rock skis or rental discards. 
  4. NSP nordic emergency sled, with the skis inside a typical blue hardware store tarp.  This probably doesn't work at all (other than as an indoor classroom exercise) with metal-edge touring skis (or perhaps any other skis for that matter), but you're welcome to try.
  5. Brooks-Range drag-style sled, which is essentially a version of the typical NSP nordic emergency sled but that would actually work.