Originally Posted by airshowguy
OK, about a hundred years ago when I was in college, I was able to train and qualify for Level 1 Ski Patrol (I think that's what it was called then)...essentially, a newbie.
Well, 25 years later (literally), I'm back at it and will be learning/relearning all the stuff from way back when.
So, here's the basic questions:
- What's the phyiscal requirements stuff? I'm not in GREAT shape but am working on that. Anything I really need to know other than being able to ski well, handle a sled and drag 200 pounds all over the snow?
- How about the book work? I remember studying my tail off way back when...more than just the basic first aid stuff, but ski techniques, rules, etc...anything of interest I should be aware of?
- Anything I need to be forwarned of, or pay particular attention to?
Any advice, guidance or assistance is much appreciated!
Welcome back. Every hill has their own requirements, mostly depending on need. Full timers and weekend volunteers also meet different criteria. Generally, you have to be able to ski the entire hill comfortably, If our mountain does a ski off, where you ski with the Patrol Director, and others. Depending on need, the criteria fluctuates. If you're a great skier, and
have medical experience, you should be in, unless you're applying to a major resort. If you're medical is top notch (say paramedic), and skiing is so-so, they'll work on you're skiing. If you're a skiing god with no medical, they'll train you medically. If you are only an OK skier and have no medical training, but they're really desperate to get candidates, they'll train you in both. There's also a commitment of a minimum number of days. My mountain requires 80% of weekend days.
Medically, we're trained in Outdoor Emergence Care (OEC), which is an equivalent to an EMT-B. If you can get your hands on the OEC manual and start reading, this will give you a headstart. I don't think you can order it from the NSP directly without a membership, but your instructor may get you one in advance.
Again, it depends on the mountain as the NSP guidelines are tailored to each mountain. Some mountains have a summer OEC training program that will give you a headstart going into the winter, some programs average 1 year, some average 2 years. Either way, you don't get cleared for sled until the instructor (as I heard one instructor put it) would feel relaxed watching you take his child down a double black run or cleared for Medical until they wouldn't mind you working on their child. Once you get cleared for both, you get you're cross. Sled training and OEC training co-exist, usually OEC in the morning and sled in the afternoon.
Physically, you don't have to be in fireman shape, but you'll be amazed as to how much of a sweat you'll develop in 10 degree weather with only a shell on, guiding a sled down the hill. For sled training, I basically stripped down to bare minimum. There's really nothing that a normal person can't handle and there's usually help. As with life in general, the better the condition you're in, the easier it'll be but I don't think there's a set guidline.
As far as skiing is involved, it's time on the snow and "in the handles". there's a couple of exercises to help your technique, (falling leaf, a lot of traversing both forward and backward over moguls) , help you learn you edges and improve balance, but that's all on hill, and you'll be getting guidance before you can work on it on your own.
It's gruelling, but interesting. And if you get through it, it's well worth it on several levels.
Hope this answered some of your questions and good luck.