At the beginning of April, we travelled to Olympic Valley, California to spend time with the ski patrol teams of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows to see how they implemented the use of our Goal Zero Yeti. A couple months prior, we were approached by Steve Shepp, ALS Manager and patroller at Squaw Valley, who asked for our help in finding a solution to keep medications warm overnight in their powerless patrol shacks. We jumped at the opportunity.
A number of the patrol shacks both at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are without a source of power or heat. Oftentimes, they rely upon propane for heat during the day, but can’t leave it on overnight and the shacks will dip below 0 degrees during the night. This is problematic for the patrol teams who need to make sure that medication they keep on hand in the patrol shacks stays above a certain temperature for its efficacy.
"Here at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, we run an on-mountain paramedic program as a part of the ski patrol. An integral part of this program are the paramedic medications which we are able to use to treat sick or injured patients, and these medications must be kept within a specific temperature range in order to maintain their effectiveness,” Shepp said, “Our patrol shack at KT-22 does not have electricity, so keeping our medications at the proper temperature overnight when the shack is not heated has been a problem.”
Up to this point, the patrol team solved this issue by placing the medications in a high-quality cooler, and then dropping a couple of battery-powered hand warmers into the cooler for the night. While this strategy did keep the medications warm, it was far from ideal...the hand warmers had to be brought to the ski patrol base for charging and then back up the mountain every day, and they only provided heat for 10 hours or so, which is problematic. If they are unable to get to the KT-22 shack due inclement weather, the medications would be ruined.
That’s where the Goal Zero Yeti comes in. “Our new solar system from Goal Zero completely solves all of our issues with keeping our medications warm. With our 3 Boulder 50 panels mounted on the roof of the KT-22 patrol shack and our Yeti 500X in the shack, we basically now have a hands-off system...the Yeti 500X and solar panels just manage themselves.” Shepp notes about the system, “We have run a USB-powered heating pad from the Yeti 500X into a cooler, and our medications stay at the perfect temperature indefinitely...regardless of whether the patrol shack can be accessed.”
Not only does the Yeti help keep medications warm, but it has also helped in day-to-day tasks for the patrol teams. “The system works so well that we now also use the Yeti 500X to charge our drill batteries (for drilling signs and bamboo into the snow), running our stereo, charging a cellular hotspot (for internet connectivity to log avalanche control results), and charging personal phones and devices.”
We were so excited to see this use case of our Goal Zero Yetis - and not only because we got to ski. The Goal Zero Yeti is versatile and easy to use. The unique use-cases we see on a day-to-day basis is what keeps us motivated. We can’t wait to see how this partnership with Squaw and Alpine evolves in the coming years.