2018 Banff Wilderness Care Conference

June 8 -10th

Banff Park Lodge, Banff AB

Registration will open early 2018!

Pre Conference

June 8, 2017


June 9-10, 2018

The Banff Wilderness Care Conference is an annual two day conference focusing on issues faced by medical care providers operating in the wilderness or other austere environments.  A well balanced event combining lecture style didactic sessions and outdoor workshops, provide participants an enjoyable yet informative event.

2018 Registration

Registration for the 2018 Banff Wilderness Care Conference will be conducted through Eventbright. Through Eventbright you will be able to register for the conference and select your workshops. Remember workshop preference is on a first come first serve basis!

Registration will open in early 2018!

2017 Conference Schedule

2017 Conference Schedule

See what we did last year!

2017 Faculty

(click to expand bio)

Kevin mug shotKevin lives in Banff working as a full time EMT-P with Covenant Health. He completed his Diploma in Mountain Medicine in 2014 and has just completed his requirements for his Fellowship in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He is also the Vice Chair of the medical committee for the Alberta / British Columbia Cave Rescue Service, ALS medical volunteer at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Resorts, DiMM exam editor, Wilderness Medicine Magazine contributor and the Banff Wilderness Care Conference chair.

Tyler mug shotTyler is an EMT-P with Alberta Health Services stationed in the heart of the

Rockies. He is currently completing his Diploma in Mountain Medicine with the

Wilderness Medical Society and is a competitive BMX racer. Tyler is a volunteer

medical patroller at Sunshine Village and is the Medical Coordinator with TLH heli

skiing in British Columbia ensuring protocols, procedures, and training are as current

and effective as possible. He also has an amazing camperized van in which he takes

his family on wonderful back country adventures in.

Session Title: Pain management in the austere environment

untitledPeter has been teaching wilderness first aid to Parks Canada Warden Service for almost 30yrs. Once the owner of Jasper ambulance providing some of the first ALS care in the region, Peter now has retired from the streets but still teaches with the Heart and Stroke providing instruction and developing content for ACLS and more. ACLS and ACLS-EP Instructor/Instructor Trainer, ITLS Instructor/Instructor Trainer, Instructor Wilderness Emergency Care Course. EMS Exemplary Service Medal

Session Title: Hemorrhage Control – Why no one should bleed to death

miles mug shot

ALS Paramedic.
-BC Ambulance Service (North Vancouver) since 1997
-Whistler Blackcomb Ski Patrol ALS/medevac Patroller since 2004
-SAR volunteer since 1991 currently volunteering with North Shore Rescue and Squamish Search and Rescue.
-chair North Shore Rescue Medical Advisory Comittee
-owner SARMed School

. He has been in Search and Rescue for 25 years and has been a Paramedic for 19 years. He has taught at BCAS Clinical Education Division, the Paramedic Academy at the Justice Institute of BC, and the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR).

Session Title: Hypothermia workshop (3hr)

Dana is a counsellor providing grief support to victims of tragedy and trauma in

the Kamloops area. Having personally suffered the loss of he son and husband to

cancer, which she writes about in her book “In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning

”, Dana brings warmth and understanding to her practice.. Using the experience she has gained counselling people from many backgrounds she will be discussing the topic of stress from the view of the victim rather than the rescuer.

Session Title: PTSD in victims – psychological help for the civilian population

involved in traumatic events.

Ritchie is an Advanced Care Paramedic and a graduate of the Masters in Education program working in the province of Alberta. Having started kayaking at the age of thirteen, formal guiding at sixteen and still getting wet today, he will deliver his topic titled, “The Will To Survive: Fight or Flight”. 


Ritchie has a diverse background including; outdoor guiding, swift-water search and rescue, military special forces, wilderness medicine and a passion for education. Having moved to Canada from the UK in 2006, he is proud to call Canada his home. 

Craig McArthur is a full time ALS Paramedic in Banff Alberta.  He is among a very small number of Diploma in Mountain Medicine paramedics in Canada.  He has worked as a Ski patroller at Sunshine Village and provides ALS medical coverage at Lake Louise Ski Resorts.  He also has extensive experience flying sick and injured patients around the globe with a Calgary based repatriation service.  Having also worked in the NWT as an EMT.  Craig enjoys skiing, mountain biking, hiking and ice climbing in the Rockies.

Session Title:  Freezing and Non-freezing cold injuries

Mika completed her MD in British Columbia and loves splitting time between Squamish, the Bugaboos, and the Rockies.  She is now in her final year of rural family medicine residency in Red Deer, Alberta.  She has been a climber for the past twelve years, with a focus on trad and sport.  During medical school, she became more immersed in remote and mountain medicine, completing electives in Alaska and Inuvik.  The following year, while living in her van rock climbing, Mika completed her Fellowship in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine and Diploma in Mountain Medicine.  She has also participated in clinical research related to altitude sickness in Nepal.  Mika is passionate about wilderness medicine education, and has enjoyed teaching other residents and students over the last year.  She is psyched to return to van life in July for more mountain adventures with her husband.

Session Title: Altitude Illnesses

Dr. Taylor completed his undergraduate education at the University of Regina, medical degree

at the University of Saskatchewan, Internal Medicine in New Zealand, and Infectious Diseases

training at the University of Alberta. subsequently he undertook training in epidemiology and public

health at McGill and Tufts Universities.

After Joining the Division, Dr. Taylor co-founded the Northern Alberta HIV Program, and established

the first hospital Infection Control Unit in Alberta. He was Division Director from 2008-2013.

His academic interests are in the field of healthcare associated infections, with particular emphasis

on the surveillance methods that inform local, hospital-level, and national healthcare policy.

Mike M Mug shot

Mike is a long time local who moved from Winnipeg with $5 in his pocket.  With determination he has made a life in Banff and enjoying the surrounding area.  An avid mountain biker and local coach Mike will take you on a “locals” tour of the mountain bike trails.  He will also review some great feild repair techneques that can help prevent a survival situation (or at least a long hike) if something ever goes wrong on one of your “epic” rides.

lisa mug shotAs a Parks Canada Visitor Safety Specialist Lisa spends her work hours providing rescue services to park visitors in the Mountain Parks.  A full ACMG mountain guide she also has decades of experience leading adventurers into the rugged mountain environment.  Lisa is also a registered EMT-A so understands our business and can provide a unique perspective to what a paramedic does.
Workshop:   Improvised Rescue;  Snow travel and self arrest.
Scotts mug shot

Scott is an Alberta paramedic with many hats. One of his passions is dive medicine.  This year Scott will review envenomation and other sticky subjects as they relate to dive medicine.

Heli shot

Martin and the pro-patrol at Sunshine Village provide avalanche rescue capabilities  to some of the most challenging terrain in the Rocky Mountains.  Join Martin and his crew in a hands on avalanche practice workshop where participants will have a change to try all the necessary skills while being mentored by some of the best in the business.

Senior ski patroller with WinSport at COP, Jasper & Banff Paramedic, and Diploma in Mountain Medicine candidate Mac loves providing care in the austere environments.  He has been passionately involved with working with Parks Canada to ensure efficient and first class care to the sick and injured in Jasper National Park.  He will be reviewing key elements of the Diploma in Mountain Medicine in his sessions.

Workshops: Medical Kits, & Improvised Medical Devices

Rachel Jamison EMT-P

Rachel is a passionate Wilderness First-Aid and Wilderness Advanced Life Support instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates.  She is also a full time paramedic with AHS Calgary Metro.  She has many years of wilderness experience teaching across the country and playing in the mountains of Western Canada.

Session Title:  Wilderness Rescue Scenario

Doug Ritchie was an EMT and Firefighter with Nordegg Fire for many years. As a longtime member of Rocky Mountain House Search & Rescue team he has been involved in many searches, technical rescues and overnight stabilisations of injured persons. He has led and organized groups in the outdoors in numerous activities for over 24 years as the Director of Frontier Lodge. His passions are backcountry skiing, backpacking and alternative building methods.
Dave Watt is a registered Paramedic and the founding president of Foothills Search & Rescue. He has spent a lifetime guiding and leading groups in many different outdoor activities, from sailing on the west coast of Scotland to leading mountain trips in Canada’s north. He continues to be a professional member of the American Mountain Guides Association. He has presented at national and international SAR conferences and works closely with national and international SAR teams.
Joshua is a second year royal college emergency medicine resident at the University of Alberta with a strong interest in EMS and disaster medicine. He has over 12 years of pre-hospital care experience working with various Fire-EMS agencies, ski patrols and as a rescue specialist with the Canadian Coast Guard. Joshua is currently an active member of Canada Task Force 2, Alberta’s all-hazards disaster response team and a firefighter with Canmore Fire-Rescue. His disaster podcast series can be found at www.epicpodcast.ca

Pre-conference workshop facilitator:  Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp.

Matt is a DMT (diver medic technician)  with the IMCA (international marine contractors association) where he worked with HSE as a 50m offshore commercial diver in 2012 and has extensive underwater simulations and participated in a major underwater trauma case.  He is also an advanced wilderness medic and full time ski patrol at SSV where is works closely with the medical volunteer team and the professional ski patrollers ensuring cross training, team integration and interdisciplinary simulations.


  • PTSD in victims – psychological help for the civilian population involved in traumatic events.
  • The will to survive – a white water survival story
  • Pain management in the austere environment
  • Hemorrhage Control – Why no one should bleed to death
  • Freezing and Non-freezing cold injuries
  • Heat emergencies and hyponatremia
  • Altitude Illness
  • Travel/tropical medicine topic TBA


Medical Kits

Description: Working in remote settings often means space is at a premium. Packing sensibly and efficiently is extremely important. It is impractical to plan on bringing everything plus the kitchen sink. This workshop will discuss some concepts to help everyone pack appropriately for their excursions.

Hypothermia Wraps

Description: one of the most important but overlooked components of providing care outside of a building. This hands on workshops will review the basics of hypothermia management for all patients.

Water Purification

Description: Learn various water purification techniques. Clean water is important in survival situations and to ensure proper hygiene in camps and to clean and prevent infections in wounds. Learn simple, thrifty, weight saving techniques, plus discuss advantages and disadvantages of most water purification techniques.

Improvised Medical Devices

Description: McGuyver in the back-country? Learn how to use various objects to perform non-traditional jobs n terms of providing care in an austere environment.

Blister care

Description: Review best practices when it comes to one of the most common injuries wilderness travelled face and could potentially result in increased morbidity if proper care is not given.

Improvised Splinting

Description: Discuss techniques to use improvised items when splinting an injury while in the back country.

Dive Medicine common injuries and their pathophysiology.

Description: Learn the pathophysiology behind the most common dive injuries, how to diagnose them and what to do about it.

Survival Basics

Description: Review and practice this basic survival techniques. The rule of threes and the basic concepts around them. A great intro session that should be require for anyone stepping off a paved road (or flying, ever..)

Knots and rope systems

Description: This workshop is designed to learn or review basic knots used in high angle and slope rescue, plus review, the basic concepts of these systems. In an emergency the concepts can be used in self rescue situations. Review or improve your technique with this hands on workshop.

Simulated back country rescue

Description: Join Rachel in a hands on workshop that provides a hands on simulated rescue experience in back-country terrain.

Bear Safety

our local bear experts will review how to avoid encounters with Bruins in or parks and what to do if one does occur. Hands on practice with inert bear spray will provide you with real training experience using this life saving (you and the bear) tool.

Improvised litters and carries.

Organized rescue is not always available or the most efficient or prudent way to evacuate the sick or injured from the back country. This hands on workshop will discuss and hand participants practice various improvised litters and ways to carry victims.

Core concepts in providing care in a winter environment.

build a shelter to provide immediate care, discuss self rescue options and see how one of the finest pro-patrol systems in the country evaluate, treat and transfer patients in the snow and cold.

Mountain Biking and Field Repair

Mountain bike local trails with long-time local Mike Milne. While enjoying great single track the group will stop and discuss simple emergency field repair for common issues encountered while mountain biking. These techniques might make the difference between getting home or being in a survival situation stuck in the back country. A must for anyone who does extended trips away from civilized areas.

Helicopter operations – orientation

visit Alpine helicopters with Visitor safety specialists and Banff EMS paramedics and discuss helicopter operations and long line safety, plus practice loading and unloading a bell 407 (or similar) aircraft. Discuss and see how patient care restrictions exist in these aircraft.

Canine First Aid

Learn basic first aid techniques for our canine companions often working and recreating beside us. In cooperation with the BVSPCA we hope to provide an informative session on the basics of canine care. All proceeds will go toward our partners.

Hyp0thermia workshop (3hr)

Join Rescue specialist and advanced care paramedic Miles Randell in this great hands on workshop designed around training provided to one of the busiest search and rescue agencies in the country on Vancouver’s north shore. Hypothermia is one of search and rescues biggest challenges. Proper management is vital. Miles is a dynamic teacher who’s experience includes one of the most remarkable hypothermia survivor rescue stories in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions