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Why I joined National Ski Patrol

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I posted this in a very old thread thought it needed to start fresh!

Many years ago @ 13 or 14 I was with a group mountain biking in the wilds of Canada we had a guy take a huge fall 3 broken ribs broken collar bone and a brain injury. We had a Chiropractor with us that new some first aid! But I felt completely helpless. Thats when I decided to join the patrol. We enjoy going out to remote places and doing sometimes extremely dangerous sports. I wanted too be prepared for anything.

The patrol trains you on how to deal with injured people and emergency situations. Bonus they also love skiing!!

I can not speak for all patrols but at our little berg (300 ft of vertical) We emphasis first aid skills first skiing second. We have intensive OEC (outdoor emergency care) classes that start in the spring 2 day a week for @ six weeks followed up in the fall with another 6-8 weeks. Then you have to pass a written test and 5 scenarios with simulated accident victims. After passing the first aid you are a candidate patroller. Then on the hill ski training begins I have seen candidates start out barley able to link two wedge turns doesn't matter we will teach you to be a great and confident skier. Mid February we have the hill test for skiing. This includes toboggan handling. If you pass the hill test you are a Basic patroller if not you are an axillary patroller with all the benefits and responsibilities of a basic except you can not transport people in toboggans.

The people in the patrol sacrifice many hours to be the professional group of volunteers they are, all to help the skiing public.

As a patrol member you will be required to ski certain shifts every week. that means good weather or bad. Dealing with screaming little one's that have a bruised bum or broken bones. but some shift will have few injuries others its one right after another. There is nothing more satisfying then after a shift enjoying a cold one with the crew and seeing how well your team work handled the emergencies of the day! And if there are not any emergencies your skiing with a great group of dedicated people that really care!

I tried to make this as brief as possible I don't like long reads. If this sounds like you contact your local volunteer patrol I am sure they would be glad to have your help!
post #2 of 7
Glad you decided to join the Patrol. You guys do a wonderful job. Thanks for alway's being there.

I have a young friend who's a college junior who joined Okemo's program last Summer. We're all very proud of her. Her dad was a Patroller years ago. He used to ski with our group. He died a couple of years ago. What she is doing means alot.

Thanks for watching out for all of us,

post #3 of 7
Thank you for doing what you do, you all provide an important service to all of us.

Are OEC classes open to those not actively persuing patrol? I would be intrested in taking then class for personal enrichment. Because I'm an instructor, I would be unable to participate in the on-hill training.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
I would check with your local patrol. My best guess would be because you are a instructor it would be great for you to have the OEC basics!
post #5 of 7
I've suggested repeatedly that all on-hill employees, whether paid or volunteer patrollers, ski instructors, lift ops or snowmakers, be trained in basic first aid and outdoor rescue, as well as lift evacuation and lift operations.

More than once I've stepped in to run a lift when an operator got hit by a chair and was being tended at the side by ski patrol, but there was no one immediately available to keep the lift line moving.

More than once I've helped anchor a rope while ski patrol unloaded folks from a chair that couldn't operate.

Many's the time I've been first on the scene of an accident.

Today, in all those instances, I, as a member of the snowsports school, am told to stay out of those circumstances. So now I'll direct traffic around an accident and suggest places for lift liners to go, etc. instead of providing some help.

Ski patrollers do a wonderful job, and it would be even better if everyone on the hill could provide real assistance.
post #6 of 7
This is my first year on the patrol. I joined in order to be able to afford to have my kids grow up skiing, as I did. I have six and may end up with one or two more. Yes, we know what causes them.

The OEC(first aid) training was a huge time committment.

Being on the patrol this year, I have skied far more than any year since high school. I was took two lessons from D-team instructors. I think my skiing has become technically more proficient.

However, the greatest benefit is helping injured skiers(and boarders . I did not foresee the satisfaction that I have experienced. There have only been a few incidents that I have been involved with, but they have made sacrifices of joining the patrol worthwhile.
post #7 of 7
I joined NSPS at a small Ohio hill back in '79. I thought it would be a pretty cool thing to do and I was enticed by the "free" lift ticket. I got way more than I bargined for.

Even though I quickly learned it wasn't "free", dues, uniforms, additional wear and tear on equipment, I realized that I was associating with a great group of people. I also learned the rewards far outweighed any sacrifice.

I left the patrol in Nov 84 when I moved to Colorado. (That's another long story.) In my 5 years on patrol I learned a lot more than just skiing and first aid. There might have been a few life lessons learned along the way. I am back in Ohio now and friendships I made way back when are still strong.

Being a former patroller and having insight into what they do, I really admire the job they do and I know better than to take patrollers for granted. I've considered patrolling again, and I've been asked, but I am not sure I have the time. I want to make sure if I commit, and I know how much time it takes, that I can meet it.

Thank a patroller the next time you get a chance. They deserve it.


Old patrollers never die, they just sideslip away.
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