A man was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night after he hit his head on the handlebars of his snowmobile while trail riding on Togwotee Pass.
The 57-year-old out-of-towner was riding with three other people around 7 p.m. Tuesday when the trail sloped down and he came down too hard and hit the front of his sled, Teton County Search and Rescue member Anthony Stevens said.
The man’s friends were worried about him because, despite being familiar with the area, he couldn’t recall where he was after the accident. The injured man was wearing a helmet but complained of head and neck pain when first responders arrived.
“His friends were trying to talk to him and were concerned about his responses,” Stevens said.
A few other snowmobilers came along and used their InReach device to call for help. They also started a fire to keep the injured man warm, Stevens said. The groups were only about 5 miles from Togwotee Mountain Lodge.
Search and rescue members arrived with a toboggan and packaged the man and took him to a ground ambulance that brought him to St. John’s Health around 10:30 p.m.
Stevens said the man and his friends were being responsible and were prepared to be in the backcountry.
With area ski resorts shut down, Teton County Search and Rescue anticipates more people being in the backcountry.
“Given the nature of what is going on in our world right now, people are trying to blow off steam,” Stevens said.
He said the team has scaled trainings back to only essential ones, such as short hauling. Otherwise, they’re still sending volunteers out when there’s a call, but they’re taking precautions by asking for information from reporting parties before determining how to respond, Stevens said.
“We definitely are taking measured responses and trying to get information from patients ahead of time or from the reporting party if their person is experiencing any respiratory distress,” Stevens said. “If so, we will go in with more protective equipment. Any response workers, we have to protect ourselves. There are a lot of unknowns right now.”