My wife has a theory that it is important how you begin and end a vacation.

"It can be the most boring summer vacation ever," she says, "But if you begin and end it with something memorable, that is what is remembered."

With this in mind, we packed up the kids yesterday and brought them up for a day of skiing.

We had been skiing for just over an hour when my son got tripped up, fell, and injured his ankle/leg. It was one of those falls that you immediately knew was serious. Someone skied down to the bottom of the hill to get some help.

Minutes later, three members of the ski patrol were huddled around my son, trying to stabilize his leg while carefully laying him down on a sled to transfer him to the base.

The ski patrol advised us to transport him by ambulance to Boston Children's. This, they said, would allow him to get some relief from pain medication as soon as possible and would alert the Children's orthopedic department that a patient was in transport.

I have to say that I've been skiing since I was a kid, but never really gave much thought to the ski patrol. I guess it's because I've been lucky enough to never have had to use their services.

Thinking more about our unfortunate adventure yesterday, though, got me to appreciate the special skills that are necessary to be a ski patrol member. Basically, you need to have all of the knowledge and skill of an EMT, while also being an elite skier so that you can offer care on the side of a mountain.

I was so grateful to have those fine people helping my son yesterday.

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