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Considering Ski Patrol. A few questions to throw out.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am considering a move to the Utah area in approximately 1.5 years from now and have been considering the thought of ski patrol. Currently I am a professional firefighter in Phoenix and will be retiring with 23+ yrs prior to the move. The thought of ski patrol has interested me for part-time or possibly full-time work. I haven't decided on it yet but it's always good to plan ahead since these types of jobs don't come easy.

 

My ski experience is Intermediate/advanced.(not expert) I will do double blacks but not like some people can. I board and ski with the family and i know ski patrol is ski only. My questions are mostly about preparation for working on a ski patrol and what the job entails. The questions would be for resorts in the PC/SLC area. Some questions are;

 

Does ski patrol offer full time only or part-time also?

Besides EMT cert, what other certs are needed? ALS? Are there ski patrol specific courses required? 

What level of ski skill is required? Do they segregate better skilled patrollers to different parts of the mountains? (I'm in good physical shape so I'm not worried, just unsure if they send experienced patrollers to emergencies in tough spots)

Whats the average pay for the positions?

What time of year do you need to be prepared for the hiring process? 

How many patrollers return from year to year? 90%? 70%? 30%?

How large of a pool of applicants do they have to choose from?

 

Just some thoughts. I don't have to get a job once there but something like this I may enjoy. 

 

Thanks

post #2 of 8

Most Utah areas are pro patrol, with a few volunteers. From the little I know, most are certified EMTs and Paramedics. But also recognize OEC certification by NSP.

Plan on a ski along and application submitted the prior year to being hired, Ski skills necessary are reviewed during the ski along. A couple of the areas have a very limited number of slots for aid room only, but very few.

I have a couple of friends pro patrolling in Utah, post retirement from the normal grind, they had been volunteer patrollers in the Midwest prior. The pay is a supplement to their retirement income.

Don't limit yourself to one specific area to apply at - look at it as a job, it is.

Different areas have different number of openings.

post #3 of 8

I'm a retired firefighter working on patrol in New Mexico.  The main advice is for you to contact the patrol directors in the area where you want to work.  Each patrol has it's own requirements.  

 

Some patrols will accept part-timers, but almost all prefer full-time.

 

Where I work EMT-B is required, EMT-I or -P is very welcome.  Check to see if they accept national registry because each state has it's own EMT certifications.  Some places require OEC.  

 

Where I work, you have to be an 'expert' (whatever that means) skier to be a full patrol.  Less than a very good skier, and you're going to work in the aid room.  The closest patrollers go to an emergency, so you have to be able to handle the tough spots.  

 

The pay is crap.  redface.gif

 

Where I work you should be available for training in early November.

 

Turnover depends on too many things to give a figure.  

 

There's usually a large pool of applicants, but the pool gets much smaller when the qualifications are reviewed.  wink.gif

 

Again, talk to the patrol director where you're interested in working.  

post #4 of 8

You can challenge the NSP Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) if your a current EMT-B in any state. You will need to pass OEC practical test and get a score of 80 or higher on OEC written test.   Unlike EMT-B, a National Ski Patrol OEC certification is good in any state.   You may want to see if you can get the OEC certification out of the way now while living in Arizona.  OEC requires that you complete an OEC refresher every year to maintain your OEC certification.

 

Utah EMT-B  reciprocity information is here.

http://www.health.utah.gov/ems/certification/reciprocity.html

 

Stop into any ski patrol and ask to do a ski along with a patroller.   

 

Good luck

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies.  I'm processing it, albeit slowly.  

 

I'm curious if there is a turnover rate during the ski season that is noticeable. I know some patrollers come and go, but do most stay the entire season?

 

If most of these resorts are full time patrollers then I'm guessing other full-time personal work overtime when others are sick or etc.

 

post #6 of 8

If you work well with others, you demonstrate this is something you really want to do, and ski/board skills are good enough for that ski area, then I would say you shouldn't worry about getting on the patrol.  Now if you trying for a resort like Jackson Hole, I understand JH has a long waiting list of top patrollers.  Each area is different.  The important thing is talk to the patrol director at each ski area.  Meet the people on the patrol.  See if this is the patrol you may want to fit in with.  This is all about camaraderie and working together.

post #7 of 8

My oldest daughter is on patrol in Little Cottonwood Canyon.   There is very little turn-over at her mountain.  Her patrol is 100% pro, with a core group of full-timers and a larger group of part-timers, most, if not all of whom are former full-timers who have gotten other jobs, but still fill in when needed.

 

I think that this is the first year in the last three years that they have had more than one opening for a new hire, and the "rookies" are experienced patrollers from other pro patrols in the west.  The criteria for getting on patrol are fairly subjective, but rational: 1.  Do they know you as a competent outdoorsman and skier?  Many patrollers guide white-water during the off-season, and if they get to know you and see how you perform as a guide, this is often a good start.  2. Are you a solid skier?  You don't have to be flashy... in fact the patrol style of skiing is more utilitarian than anything else.  However, you need to be a strong enough skier to  handle any conditions on the mountain.  3. Can they trust you with their lives?  This is probably the most important of all.  Avalanche control work is dangerous, and you can kill someone if you screw up.

 

Obviously, the first aid/medical training is important, but the first three criteria listed above weed out a lot of people who have the medical skills.

 

 

post #8 of 8

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan from Pa View Post

My oldest daughter is on patrol in Little Cottonwood Canyon.   There is very little turn-over at her mountain.  Her patrol is 100% pro, with a core group of full-timers and a larger group of part-timers, most, if not all of whom are former full-timers who have gotten other jobs, but still fill in when needed.


This is how it is where I work.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtis500 

 

I'm curious if there is a turnover rate during the ski season that is noticeable. I know some patrollers come and go, but do most stay the entire season?


There's little mid-season turnover where I work.  And it's hard to train new people mid-season - learning the mountain, lift evacuation, local procedures, etc. take time and attention that are in shorter supply after the mountain opens.  Much easier to do during the 'training season.'

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