What the CSP did for me!

By Perry Schmunk, CSIA Managing Director (pschmunk@snowpro.com)

Hi Canadian Ski Patrol members:

I had the great pleasure to meet Jean Rioux, your co-executive director at a ski resort conference this past spring. I was lucky enough to sit with Jean at one of the conference dinners and told him that my start in the industry was directly related to the Canadian Ski Patrol!

Here is that story.

I had a pretty typical sports background for a kid growing up in Saskatchewan – hockey on almost a daily basis, later football, but nothing in the way of alpine skiing.

After high school I went onto university, with a plan to be a high school phys-ed teacher. A requirement of the phys-ed program was to have a recognized first aid certificate. I also had a job working 20 hours a week, which complicated my schedule and therefore my first aid training course options.

I was trying to find a qualified first aid course that fit my schedule, when my mom came across the local chapter (Saskatoon) of the CSP, that offered a first aid course on eight consecutive Saturdays. Although my first response was that it would not work as I was not a skier, it did fit into my schedule.

The CSP first aid course was miracle No. 1 in my career. I was there for the first aid training, but most of my classmates where there for the access to skiing. As I progressed through the first aid training, I met an incredible community of people, and it was those friendships that started me skiing.

With access to the local hill and skiing with the highly skilled group of patrollers, my skiing skills advanced quickly. The next season, when the CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance) Level 2 course came to our hill, the local CSP chapter was gracious enough to offer me a scholarship to take the instructor course, so I could in turn help train my fellow patrollers.

That CSIA course was miracle No. 2 in my career. Had I kept my original career goal to be a high school teacher, I am sure I would have been happy, but when I took the CSIA course, I quickly equated that the ski industry was my way to see the world. The two CSIA course conductors; Scotty McWilliams and Brad Hurtubise who delivered the course were skilled educators, rivalling any of my university professors. Scotty and Brad worked at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, respectively, and Scotty also worked in New Zealand. I wanted to be just like them.

The very next season, I moved to Banff. Fast forward to today, I am currently the managing director of the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance. I have seen the world from Japan to Bulgaria and New Zealand to Finland, all due to my start with the Canadian Ski Patrol.

Perry Schmunk in his natural habitat (photo provided by Perry Schmunk)