EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Patrol Shack › Living as a full time ski patroller
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Living as a full time ski patroller

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Is it possible to make a living working as ski patrol full time? Are there year-round ski patrol positions and if so, what do you do in the summer?

Working as ski patrol would be a dream job to me but I don't know if I could take the pay cut and I wouldn't really like to have to look for a new job every summer while I wait for the next season to start.

Any full time ski patrollers here? How do you do it?

post #2 of 31
The few guys I know who are full time instructors/patrollers all have some other business going.  Some of them do landscaping in the summer, some run construction businesses, one of them is a financial planner, two of them are farmers, some are fishing guides or sailing instructors, or golf pros.  AFAIK none of them get by on skiing and other recreation/sports jobs alone.

BK
post #3 of 31
I know of a few...
ski patrol in the winter, mountain bike patrol in the winter, eat lots of Ramen in the shoulder seasons.
post #4 of 31
I know a lot of people who live the recreation lifestyle year around. The jobs run the gamut: ski patrol in NZ, climbing guides in AK, climbing rangers in the Tetons, river guides, mtb guides, etc. It takes work to get the proper certs.

I think the number one job for off season patrollers is wildland firefighter though.
post #5 of 31
Earn some big money fast and what you wish for the rest of your life! 
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post



I think the number one job for off season patrollers is wildland firefighter though.
 
Never ever out of shape. Your one tough guy humping mountains w/ a chainsaw in summer heat.
post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by apeyros View Post

Earn some big money fast and what you wish for the rest of your life! 

If a Guru has the "how" to earn big money fast down and enjoy the rest of life, I would love to escape my cubicle and live a more recreational lifestyle.  Sign me up for that program.  For now, I am still shackled to the cubicle.  Maybe I should figure out how to open a bank, and then get bailed out ...
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidding View Post




If a Guru has the "how" to earn big money fast down and enjoy the rest of life, I would love to escape my cubicle and live a more recreational lifestyle.  Sign me up for that program.  For now, I am still shackled to the cubicle.  Maybe I should figure out how to open a bank, and then get bailed out ...

I work as a pro patroller in both Australia and California.

I escaped my cubicle in 2004. For over 20 years I worked in various office jobs. Mostly working as a government employee in Australia in middle management. The walls of my office started to close in on me and I had to get out. I had been a volunteer patroller in Australia for some time and decided to try full time.

I work as a pro patroller for about 9 months of the year depending on the length of the seasons. About five months in US and four months in Australia. I have a break of about 6 weeks between each season. Each year my US ski resort has to sponsor me for a US work visa. The reverse would have to happen for an American to work at an Australian resort.

I am definitely not in it for the money. I was financially secure when i left my office job and have no dependants. I have not been saving since I became a pro patroller.  I am earning about a third of what I used to earn but I am getting at least five times the job satisfaction. The wages for patrol in US are way to low for he responsibility of the job. I am not well paid in Australia but I earn about $4.00 an hour more than I earn here.

I have been doing this for six years now and loving it. I am just completing my tenth consecutive winter. I do not miss summer. I get a spring and fall between seasons. 
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Easty View Post




I work as a pro patroller in both Australia and California.

I escaped my cubicle in 2004. For over 20 years I worked in various office jobs. Mostly working as a government employee in Australia in middle management. The walls of my office started to close in on me and I had to get out. I had been a volunteer patroller in Australia for some time and decided to try full time.

I work as a pro patroller for about 9 months of the year depending on the length of the seasons. About five months in US and four months in Australia. I have a break of about 6 weeks between each season. Each year my US ski resort has to sponsor me for a US work visa. The reverse would have to happen for an American to work at an Australian resort.

I am definitely not in it for the money. I was financially secure when i left my office job and have no dependants. I have not been saving since I became a pro patroller.  I am earning about a third of what I used to earn but I am getting at least five times the job satisfaction. The wages for patrol in US are way to low for he responsibility of the job. I am not well paid in Australia but I earn about $4.00 an hour more than I earn here.

I have been doing this for six years now and loving it. I am just completing my tenth consecutive winter. I do not miss summer. I get a spring and fall between seasons. 




 

This sounds great! I currently live in Canada working an office job making very decent money but my girlfriend is always talking about living in Australia. Going back and forth like this between seasons sounds like an awesome lifestyle as I'm sick of the cubicle.

Where in Australia are you working? I didn't know they had much skiing there.

How much did you have to save up from your office job to start living this lifestyle? Are you living off these savings or are you able to sustain yourself on what you make working as ski patrol?
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jave View Post

Is it possible to make a living working as ski patrol full time?


unless you start with a trust fund ,pension,or sugar mamma,the answer is no
post #11 of 31
haha... you know the saying...
"whats the fastest way to make a small fortune in the ski business?"
"start with a large fortune."
post #12 of 31
As a former pro patroller I know that construction, river raft guiding, and fire fighting with the Forest Service are all popular summer jobs.  I was an Allied Van Lines truck driver and moving man. It is tough, particularly at smaller areas, when you cannot count on when your ski employment season will start or end, or how much you will be working.  If you work at a big resort you may be able to find summer work with them, but patrolling is almost always seasonal, which has its pros and cons.
post #13 of 31
It sure would be sweet to have a cabin in the mountains and a beach house.  Patrol in the winter months and lifeguard in the summer months. Anybody here ever pull that off?  If so you are my ultimate hero:-)
post #14 of 31
I'm a pro patroller in the winter and a wildland firefighter in the summer.  I get by alright.  Lemme know if you have anymore questions.
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lassenC2 View Post

I'm a pro patroller in the winter and a wildland firefighter in the summer.  I get by alright.  Lemme know if you have anymore questions.


This combination is something I have been considering working towards myself.  Ski Patrol has always been a dream job of mine, and although I have a degree in Construction Management I do not fancy living the office lifestyle especially when it means 70 hour weeks.  I am getting my Wilderness EMT Cert this coming fall, any suggestions on some other certifications to work towards in particular if I want to prepare for Wilderness Firefighting?  Also are you firefighting with the Forest Service or a different organization?  Whats the best way to get my foot in the door with that?

 

 

post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by EAsprts26 View Post

...I want to prepare for Wilderness Firefighting?  Also are you firefighting with the Forest Service or a different organization?  Whats the best way to get my foot in the door with that?
Start here:
http://www.wildlandfire.com/docs/faq.htm
post #17 of 31
My family owns a farm in Nebraska and I am almost being forced to take over if I do not pursue with a business career. Would farming/patrolling work well. Time in Nebraska would be late march through October. It sounds about perfect for me. Only downfall would be family like if I had children someday. Any ideas on how that could work?
post #18 of 31
Hey this thread is helpful. Does anyone happen to know the daily (or any) pay for a snowboard/ski EMT? And are they just referred to as patrol? That's what I'm doing in the future. And who here took their OEC? (Outdoor emergency course I believe)
post #19 of 31
It can vary from min. wage to $11 hourly based on experience, responsibility and seniority. Rent and beer money are all you have for a season, and of coarse many great memories.
post #20 of 31
I think it's $10/hour here. Not sure if it goes up with seniority, but I don't think so.
post #21 of 31
Year round ski patrolling is the best job in the world! It is definitely possible to be a year round patroller with a livable wage. The route I took was ski patrol the winters and then I made myself available for whatever they needed during the summer. This landed me on mountain jobs like painting lifts and running a chainsaw cutting new runs all the while acting as an EMT for the resort. In time I became a year round patroller, running bike wrecks, helping lost hikers, repairing winter infrastructure etc. Joining the mountain bike patrol is a great way to stay on. Many resorts insurance carriers require them to keep medical personnel on 365 days a year so if you get on that skeleton crew you can have full time year round work. Stick with it, it really is the best job in the world!
post #22 of 31

I patrolled for 6 seasons and during the summers either went south to guide in Chile, guided climbing, hiking, biking, sometimes found other work, etc. My last years of patrolling were at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, MT where I started at $15.50, which was only 50 cents more than what a total rookie started at. It is a very high paying patrol with hardly any guests (it is private) so not many accidents. Mostly just lots of control work and pow skiing in crazy good terrain. It is definitely a place to check out if you want amazing training and good pay. That being said, you still have the temp job predicament. Let me know if you have any questions. Cheers. 

post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by chartierk View Post
 

I patrolled for 6 seasons and during the summers either went south to guide in Chile, guided climbing, hiking, biking, sometimes found other work, etc. My last years of patrolling were at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, MT where I started at $15.50, which was only 50 cents more than what a total rookie started at. It is a very high paying patrol with hardly any guests (it is private) so not many accidents. Mostly just lots of control work and pow skiing in crazy good terrain. It is definitely a place to check out if you want amazing training and good pay. That being said, you still have the temp job predicament. Let me know if you have any questions. Cheers. 


Just out of curiosity how competitive is it to get on the patrol there? Seems like there would be quite a lot of people interested in patrolling there.

post #24 of 31

^^^ The Y/C has openings every year. It isn't a very hard place to get a job if you fit the mold.

 

Because of expansion plans the patrol size just increased by about 30%.

 

That is a decent wage but not unusual around the Big Sky area. The real issue is finding housing. Not affordable housing, that doesn't exist anymore, just housing.

 

The majority of mountain employees now live elsewhere.

post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studebaker Hawk View Post
 

^^^ The Y/C has openings every year. It isn't a very hard place to get a job if you fit the mold.

 

Because of expansion plans the patrol size just increased by about 30%.

 

That is a decent wage but not unusual around the Big Sky area. The real issue is finding housing. Not affordable housing, that doesn't exist anymore, just housing.

 

The majority of mountain employees now live elsewhere.


Ha well going full time as a patroller isn't in the cards for me for at least a few years, the military still owns me. Maybe down the line sometime though, I was just curious as it seems like a place that a lot of people would want to work at.  

post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post


Ha well going full time as a patroller isn't in the cards for me for at least a few years, the military still owns me. Maybe down the line sometime though, I was just curious as it seems like a place that a lot of people would want to work at.  

A lot of people initially want to work there but it takes a special type to make it work in the long run. You have to be a rule follower, like authority and really not mind pretty much the most demotivating, grumpy old patrol director ever. Also, no action. So, if an extra $2 per hour is worth doing a non premier, big mountain patrol job in a real community with plenty of action, then the YC can be a great place. After patrolling 5 seasons elsewhere, I could quickly see the deficiencies and for me it want worth it. For those for whom it is their first patrol job, they are usually stoked.
post #27 of 31

^^^ He is a good guy, he just needs to find something else to do, he is burned out.

 

We have picked up a couple of long term Y/C patrollers at BB and they are a great addition. (D. Zinn/Josh T.)

 

Char when was your last season at the Y/C?

 

Lonewolf, FYI, it really isn't that difficult to land a patrol job at most any area except for a few. Such as Alta, JHMR, BB.

 

The trick is being able to afford that job.


Edited by Studebaker Hawk - 11/23/16 at 4:33pm
post #28 of 31

^^^ Yeah I know. He isn't really that bad, just not a good manager/director. I guess I have always taken the opinion that if you dont like what you do, quit and find something you enjoy and stop being miserable. Tom should have heeded this advice many years ago. Sort of sad since ski patrolling is basically the raddest job of all time! 

 

D Zinn is the man! Freaking love that guy! So happy he is able to get on with Bridger Bowl - the coolest patrol job of all time I imagine. 

 

I just made the decision to not return for this season in the past few months. Just wasn't very fun over there and I love skiing and since I couldnt take time off to guide, travel, etc during the winter, that job was not going to work for me anymore. 

 

I assume you are at BB, so maybe I'll catch up with you sometime this winter. 

 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

 

Kevin

post #29 of 31

I am P/T at BB by choice and feel grateful they allow that, I usually am at the top of Bridger on Saturdays if you ever need skis carried.

 

You have a great Turkey day as well.

post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jave View Post
 

Is it possible to make a living working as ski patrol full time? Are there year-round ski patrol positions and if so, what do you do in the summer?

Working as ski patrol would be a dream job to me but I don't know if I could take the pay cut and I wouldn't really like to have to look for a new job every summer while I wait for the next season to start.

Any full time ski patrollers here? How do you do it?

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Patrol Shack
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Patrol Shack › Living as a full time ski patroller