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Needing some advice

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

I'm Gabe, a 20yo college student, born in Rio, Brazil, but lived most of my life in LA, so used to ride every season at Snow Summit or Bear, now part of mammoth. I dropped out of film school in Burbank last year after deciding that what I really wanted to become was a ski patroller, not a filmmaker. But as my parents really want me to have a diploma or a degree, basically go to college, I had to find a "proper" and efficient pathway to become a patroller.

My choice was to temporarily move to Queenstown, New Zealand, and attend the Queenstown Resort College, which is basically a "ski resort college" and learn everything from Risk Management to Service Quality, including a Pre Hospital Emergency Care certificate. Queenstown is also surrounded by mountains, which makes this place quite special. I live at the base of Coronet Peak, some of you might know it, it's part of NZSki. My plans were to after graduating, attend a patrolling course/try to get a Ski Patrol certificate. 

So here's where I need some advice and would really appreciate if someone could help me: It's part of the course at the college to get 900 hours of industry placement, working or volunteering in the industry, in case of working in a ski resort could be divided with 450 hours for each season being 2 seasons total. The ideal picture would be for me to work with Trail Safety here in NZ for this season, but sadly I got "no" from Cardrona, Treble Cone and NZSki. With NZSki actually saying that the reason for not hiring me was "You are too focused on becoming a patroller while we want you as a liftie". It honestly makes me sad because I'm a good kid and Cardrona/NZSki hired all the druggies/bullies in the class, which some already got in trouble in the workplace for serious reasons like failing drug tests. But they didn't hire me because I actually want a career. Good thing tho was that I found a volunteer patroller role at Broken River Ski Area, which I could go once but had to drop out as it was 6 hours from the place where I live here and I can't afford that drive all the time.

After all that, my plan is now to try to find a resort within the US, where I would be able to volunteer for patrolling this next season and get the 450 hours needed to go back and graduate. I could get another "adventure tourism" job here and get paid/get the hours as well, but I would rather volunteer on something I love doing than working and getting paid for something I don't like doing. I would be able to arrange accommodation, pay for everything I need and work hard/do everything efficiently. I'm an advanced snowboarder/beginner skier. I contacted Snow Summit's volunteer patrol but the First Year Patroller advisor recommended me considering volunteering for mountain host, I was happy with that but he never answered again and it's been almost a month. So, anyone got any idea what I can do or where to go?

Thank you in advance

post #2 of 6
I think most of the patrollers at the Western ski areas are "professional" ski patrol and get paid by the mountain. And not paid much, given their credentials. Here, the volunteers are usually mountain hosts, called Ambassadors. They get free lift tickets, maybe free lessons, not sure about pro form. However, when I moved here and talked to the program head at the time, they wanted people who knew the mountain inside out and has been skiing here for a while regularly, which precludes someone in your situation.

They also only want people who are non-citizens if they have a J1 visa and will not accept the H2B visa. I have no idea what those are, but these requirements may be standard. For those with J1, they refer you to this site:

Now, when I was back East, there was a lot of volunteer patrol. But I'm sure there was still a visa issue. I'd look at that website.

I notice that our local hiring for winter does not start until September.
post #3 of 6
You're going to face some problems. First, there may be work visa issues, but I don't know much about that.

Second, to work as a patroller, you'll need Outdoor Emergency Care - OEC - as a minimum certification. I think that training and certification is only offered in the U.S. What kind of medical certification do you have now?

Third, most ski areas require new hires that have OEC to go through a training period before they become full patrollers, so you're likely not going to be able to start as a full patroller. You'd likely be starting out as some sort of trainee - where I work they're designated as Safety Team.

There's probably more, but that's a start.
post #4 of 6
But, that said, the only thing you absolutely should do is to contact the ski patrol director at areas where you're interested in working. Each patrol has their own requirements and allowances. As suggested above, you might look for an area that has a large volunteer patrol. Unfortunately, I'm not up on that.
post #5 of 6

I wouldn't be concerned that Summit hasn't got back to you.  There is a good chance that they are on summer staffing (bike park) and the person in charge of volunteer hosts isn't working at this time of year.  Also, just as with a job application, it is always wise to follow up with a second contact and let them know that you are still interested.  Both Summit and Bear use a HUGE volunteer force both for patrolling and hosting.  Bear also uses a large volunteer force for their adaptive ski/board program.  Even though Summit/Bear is one entity under Mammoth, it is possible that their volunteer programs are entirely separate.  The used to be.

post #6 of 6

Snow Summit and Bear Valley have undergone significant changes under Mammoth. This flyer was handed out at SkiDazzle over the weekend. Try Contact other areas ASAP.
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