White Pass set to open with new helipad to improve emergency response

    White Pass set to open with new helipad to improve emergency response.

    WHITE PASS, Wash.- If you hear a helicopter coming for you on the mountain, it usually means you're going to the hospital.

    And because of where White Pass is located, a helicopter would be the quickest way to get you there.

    During the summer, the resort moved their helipad right in front of the ski patrol building to get you out of there as soon as possible.

    “It would be a shorter ride to the helicopter vs. getting towed across the ski area on the back of a snowmobile,” Ski Patrol Director Chris Talbot said.

    The ski patrol is essentially the mountains ambulance service.

    And they’ll be the ones to come and get you if anything goes wrong while you're enjoying the slopes.

    “Assess your injuries, give any treatment that's needed and ski you to the bottom if needed or possibly a helicopter. Depends what you need,” Talbot said.

    There's been no injuries so far, this year, but that's because the season hasn't started yet.

    Thanks to a recent snow storm, White Pass said they'll be opening up their lifts to everyone starting Friday.

    “We had some natural snow. We had a lot of man made snow on the lower area and we really felt like we would be skiing this weekend,” general manager Kevin McCarthy said.

    With it being only about an hour away from Yakima, White Pass is the closest ski resort and one of the busiest as well.

    McCarthy said he expects to be packed this weekend and expects only more people showing up as the mountain gets hit with more snow.

    “We'll go through between 135,000 to 150,000 visits a year. The busy days are those Saturdays mid-winter. There's close to three thousand people here most days,” he said.

    While the slopes will be full of people in the coming days, White Pass' ski patrol will be standing by to get you help when all goes wrong.

    December 14 will be the first day of the ski season at White Pass with the lifts opening up at 8:45 a.m.

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