Mountain Safety
January 30th, 2019

How to Deal with Broken Ribs in the Backcountry

Ride long enough, and eventually there's a decent chance of hurting or even breaking your ribs while snowmobiling in the mountains.

How to Deal with Broken Ribs in the Backcountry

Broken ribs and other chest injuries can be caused by a hard impact with the handlebars, trees or rocks; a high-speed crash; or an awkward sled rollover.

Here’s some advice on how to deal with a broken ribs while snowmobiling in the backcountry!

The priorities are:

  1. Quick, gentle transport
  2. Keep the patient warm and conformable
  3. Monitor vitals—airway, breathing and circulation.

With first-aid, there’s not a lot that responders can do in this situation, as the injuries are internal. However, recognizing the signs of an emergency situation and quickly getting the patient to help are key!

Thanks to Lisa and Golden and District Search and Rescue for their expertise and help with this video, and to all Search and Rescue volunteers for their invaluable efforts! Check out for more mountain safety tips, and ride safe this winter!


– MS