Despite the back-to-back incidents, the Grand Haven ski hill’s executive director Benji Stone said, “we’ve had the safest season we’ve ever had.”
“Prior to this weekend, the worst we’ve had is a bruised shin,” Stone said.
A 14-year-old boy was injured Saturday afternoon at Mulligan’s Hollow.
Stone said the boy walked into the lodge after his fall, but they quickly realized he was going to need help and called for an ambulance.
On Sunday, a 12-year-old boy injured his leg on a back hill.
Stone and other ski patrol members used a snowmobile to transport a North Ottawa Community Hospital paramedic up the ski hill.
They brought the injured youth back down the hill on a sled pulled behind a snowmobile, with a ski patroller on a snowboard acting as a brake behind the sled.
In both cases, the injured youths were going to be okay, Stone said.
In both cases, the youths attempted a stunt beyond their abilities.
But also, in both cases, the boys were wearing helmets.
“If they were not wearing helmets, it comes down to a totally different injury,” Stone said.
Stone said the ski facility continues to experience record attendance this year. With that comes the increased possibility of an incident.
“One of the main things we’ve focused on this year is making the landings really safe,” Stone said.
He noted that there are also more ski patrollers out at any time.
Another advantage is the increase in adults using the slopes, he said.
“It seems to calm things down,” Stone said.
Adults ski free if they accompany their child with a paid lift ticket.
Stone said Mulligan’s Hollow also offers free helmets to use in both adult and youth sizes.
“We are constantly pushing the use of helmets,” he said. Patrollers also remind the skiers and snowboarders to stay within their capabilities.
Stone said there are hills, jumps and obstacles for all ages and ability levels.
The director said the ski area is growing in popularity because of the family-friendly atmosphere, the fact that alcohol is not served there and the absence of the chaos of some of the bigger ski areas.
Mulligan’s Hollow has a lodge with restrooms and some food service, an outdoor fire pit area and ski hills with towropes. Ski rentals and lessons are also available.
Despite the recent and expected snowmelt, Stone said the hills are in great shape with a 3-4-foot base.
Check https://www.mulliganshollow.com/ for more information on the Grand Haven facility.