Here are some frequently asked questions about our organization and what you can do to get involved!

Participant Requirements
What are the requirements needed to join the Canadian Ski Patrol?
What are the requirements needed to join the Canadian Ski Patrol?

  • You must be 18 years of age
  • Complete the Canadian Ski Patrol Volunteer Form
  • Complete a one-time police information check
  • Be an intermediate/advanced to expert skier (alpine, telemark, or Nordic) or snowboarder
  • Be willing to learn and practice new skills
  • Provide your own skiing/snowboarding equipment (minus uniforms and patrol packs, which are provided for patrollers who choose to patrol at a ski hill in Calgary Zone)
Is it mandatory to attend Recruitment Events?

No but it is strongly encouraged. Those who do participate are given the opportunity to pre-register for the next New Patrollers Course. Joining is a huge commitment and it is important that you have all the information needed to make an informed decision. The Calgary Zone hosts two different types of events to facilitate recruitment:

Open house/Information night

This night is a great opportunity to talk with current Patrollers (both old and new) and hear their experiences with the organization and patrol community. This is an informal presentation by the previous year’s new patrollers.

Experience Patrol Days

These days are typically held at all  CSP resorts during the months from February to April. These days are on snow and you get the best insight to the day in the life of a Patroller by following one around at their home resort.

I have no previous first aid experience – can I still join?

Yes! We provide all the training for you to join us. Many of the people who join the CSP have little or no first aid experience. After taking the course – which gives you an advanced level of first aid training – and with practice, most people become very competent first aiders.

I snowboard, are there additional requirements?

Snowboards can currently only patrol at two resorts in the zone. These resorts are Lake Louise and Nakiska. Due to a high a retention rate at Lake Louise Prior PL approval is required before the Snowboarder may join the New Patroller Class. Nakiska currently does not have this limitation requirement.

First Aid Training
I have previous first aid training and/or a medical background (e.g. wilderness first aid, EMR, nurse, doctor, etc.) - does this qualify as a substitute for New Patroller training?

All New Patrollers regardless of pervious training must attend and successfully complete the New Patroller course. This is to satisfy Insurance and Liability reasons and insure every play by the same play book.

I patrolled a while ago with CSP – do I still have to take the new patroller course?

Depending on the status of your membership, you may be required to retake the new patroller course. Guidelines provided below:

1. A Regular Member (RM) with 2 or less years of service: Must register and complete the AFA or the AFA-M program as a first year candidate.

2. A RM having a minimum of 3 years consecutive service, the following qualification schedules apply upon return to Regular Membership: Absence of 1 year: A RM returning from a LOA may recertify as a returning Regular Member at scheduled Zone recertification sessions having completed the full registration requirements within the Zone. The Zone VP Education may require the returning RM to attend sessions related to major course changes as part of the re-entry requirements.

3. Absence of 2-4 years: Returning RM must register for and attend the full first year candidate course requirements of the System. A returning RM may request exemption for this requirement if they can demonstrate, in writing, that they have continued to have extensive involvement in delivery of advanced emergency response activities as part of their work or volunteer activities. If an exemption is approved by the Zone President or their delegate, the returning RM will be allowed to register in a scheduled Zone recertification session having completed the full registration requirements of the Zone.

4. Absence of 5 years or more: Returning RM, having completed the full registration requirements of the Zone, must attend and successfully complete the full first year candidate course requirements.

What happens if I am unsuccessful with my first aid exams?

You are allowed to take a re-test of the exams; however, the passing mark is increased. The training can be overwhelming and if you put in the effort to learn the material and study, the instructors will assist you. All new patrollers must successfully pass their first aid exams (CPR/AED, Skills, Written, and Diagnostic) prior to the on-snow training. We do not offer refunds for unsuccessful participants.

What are the First Aid exams like?

There are four components to the first aid exams. All of these exams must be successfully completed before proceeding to the on-snow training.

1. CPR/AED Exam: The pass mark is 80 per cent on a multiple choice exam.

2. Skills Exams: Five practical exams for you to demonstrate your assessment/bandage/splint/backboard/miscellaneous treatment skills.

3. Written Exam: A 100 question, multiple choice, exam on the Canadian Ski Patrol First Aid manual content. A written exam review sheet will be provided beforehand. The pass mark is 80 per cent after which you will be required to correct your exam to 100% using the manual. Should you achieve a score of less than 80 per cent, you will be asked to re-write the same exam, the pass mark will be increased to 85 per cent.

4. Diagnostic Exam: This is a real-time evaluation of your patient assessment skills, diagnosis of the problem and how you would treat the patient. A minimum of 80 per cent is required for the Diagnostic exam. A single re-test is available and are examined by two instructors with a different scenario

I cannot make some in-classroom sessions – what are my options?

We understand that we are all volunteers, we have busy schedules and circumstances happen. Absence from the classroom sessions are evaluated on a case by case basis and require approval from the Calgary Zone VP Education (education@cspcalgary.ca). Please send an email outlining the dates you will not be able to attend for approval.

I cannot make the CPR course – what are my options?

You can register yourself through another certified provider (e.g. Red Cross) for a CPR course that fits your schedule; however you will be responsible to cover this cost. Please ensure that you take the HCP Level and that the certificate is valid until May of the upcoming ski season. You must also provide a copy of your certificate to the VP of education (education@cspcalgary.ca)

I already have CPR Certification, do I have attend this session?

If you already have a valid Level HCP CPR certification that is valid until the end of the upcoming ski season, you can provide a copy to the VP of education (education@cspcalgary.ca) and not attend this session as part of the New Patroller Course. Note that it is an expectation that patrollers rectify their CPR annually (meaning if you have n CPR certificate that is valid for 3 years, CSP Calgary zone will expect that you re-certify this annually during our returning weekends).

 

On Snow Training
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What is the On-Snow?

We operate on the slopes and driving a toboggan is a special mixture of skill and art. The On-snow weekend is a full weekend event in December hosted by one of our resorts. During the weekend your skiing ability is evaluated, and your toboggan training begins. By the successful end of the weekend the New Patroller is a Patroller and my go and Test at other resorts. All New patrollers to the Zone including transfers must successfully complete the On-Snow in order to patrol in the Calgary zone.

What is the On-Snow Evaluation like?

The Ski Evaluation occurs prior to lunch on the first day. Qualified Instructors will Evaluate the candidates Skiing ability on various terrain. If the skiing ability is satisfactory Toboggan training is started that afternoon. If the skiing ability is not satisfactory the Candidate will be moved to a separate group to continue working on ski skills to reach a satisfactory level.

What is the on-snow requirement for Nordic Patrol?

If you are planning to do Nordic patrol only, you are not required to attend the alpine low land on-snow evaluation/test. Patrollers choosing Nordic should be in good physical condition, and be comfortable on skis over uphill, downhill and flat terrain, and you will be required to demonstrate a heightened level of competency of your Nordic skiing skills with one or more of the senior Nordic patrollers. Your opportunity to join the Nordic Patrol will be partially dependent upon your Nordic skiing skill.

I am a Transfer from another zone. Do I need to attend the On-Snow evaluation?

YES, you must attend and successfully pass the Calgary On-Snow prior to resort selection.

What happens after the On-Snow?

Successful candidates will be able to attend ski around days at the various resorts. All resorts in the Calgary zone require additional testing. This to ensure the safety of both the Patroller and Public when operating a toboggan. Once testing is complete the Candidate will choose their top three resorts and if they are accepted will begin orienteering at their chosen resort.

If after the On-Snow weekend the candidate is still unable to ski at a required level, they will be unable to attend the ski around days at the resorts. They will be strongly encouraged to attend the CSP weekly Ski Improvement nights. The weekly ski improvement courses in the evening at COP starting in December and/January and ending in March.

If you are unsuccessful with your On-Snow evaluation and training, you are still a certified first aider and can patrol at off-snow special events (i.e. marathons, races, etc.)

I cannot make the On-Snow training – what are my options?

Please do your best to accommodate these sessions, as it can be difficult to reschedule (we are all volunteers as well). However, exceptions can be made. Please note that these dates are also weather dependent and have been changed in the past to accommodate more suitable weather and snow conditions. We need suitable snow conditions to be able to carry out these sessions. This training and evaluation can be held at COP, Nakiska, or Lake Louise – the location will be confirmed in the Fall when the New Patroller course begins.

 

Fundraising
I am unavailable to my ski sale shifts as part of my fundraising commitments – what can I do?

Please try your best to complete your fundraising commitments. Our training is heavily subsidized due to our fundraising efforts, and volunteers are required for the overall execution of the ski sale. However, we understand that it is within a specific timeframe, and may not align with some people’s schedule. You can have someone complete your ski sale shifts for you (make sure they identify that when signing up) or you can volunteer at one of our casinos throughout the year. The annual fundraising commitment is 2 ski sale shifts (4 hours each) or 1 casino shift (8 hours).

 

Ski Areas & Patrolling
Can I pick which ski area I want to patrol at?

Yes, After the On-Snow the various resorts in the Calgary zone will hold Ski Around days. These days comprise of a general tour of the hill along with another ski evaluation. The purpose of these days is to encourage the patroller to find the best fit.

I would like to patrol at a ski area outside of the Calgary Zone (e.g. Fernie, Kickinghorse), can I still sign up through the Calgary Zone?

Yes. We are a national organization, and you can transfer zones. Please note that if you sign up through the Calgary Zone, you must complete the Calgary Zone requirements. This includes your annual fundraising commitments, and annual recertification. Patrollers who patrol at a ski area outside of the Calgary Zone do not receive a patrol jacket and patrol pack as part of their fee.

What if I cannot make my monthly commitments?

Monthly commitments are generally 2-3 weekend days (Saturday and Sunday) per month. We understand that as volunteers we have busy schedules. New patrollers are strongly encouraged to do 3 days per month to complete their on-hill training. It takes time and experience to learn hill protocols, accident response, radio communication, and 3 days a month allows the information and training to be fresh and current. Please speak with the Patrol Leader if you cannot make your monthly commitments.

How do I schedule my patrol days?

An online scheduling roster system is used. You sign up for the days you are available to patrol. Note that it is important to sign up early to ensure you meet your commitments as there is a maximum number of patrol shifts available for the day.

Can I patrol on weekdays?

No, as a first-year patroller this not an option. After 3 years as a regular Member you may discuss with your Patrol Leader.

Do I get to ski for free?

While Patrolling you do get to ski for free.

Can I patrol during the summer?

Yes. We have a special events patrol that provides first aid services for events throughout the summer (off-snow). All patrollers from the Calgary Zone regardless of where they patrol during the winter are invited to be part of the special events patrol.

 

Equipment
Do I need to buy my own equipment?

A patrol jack, patrol pack, and basic first aid supplies are provided for new patrollers choosing to patrol at a ski area within the Calgary zone. New patrollers need to supply black snow pants and their own ski/snowboard equipment. Additional equipment may be required at ski areas (e.g. helmet, shovel, probe, avalanche beacon etc.)

Where and when do I pick up my jacket and pack?

After you have completed the On-Snow training and have successfully completed the ski test at the ski are you wish to patrol at, new patrollers will be provided a patrol jacket and pack (if you are patrolling at a ski area in the Calgary Zone). Details of how you will receive your uniform will be provided during the New Patroller Course and/or through your Patrol Leader.

 

More Info
I am undecided if this is really for me – what are my options?

Joining is a big commitment, and we want to ensure you have all the information you need to make the decision to become part of the CSP. We encourage you to come out to one of Experience Patrol Days throughout the season. This day will give you an idea about what we do, expectations, and how to join. We can also provide some feedback on skiing/snowboarding ability. You can also make contact with a ski area directly and set up a shadow day – this is similar to our Experience Patrol days, and you will be one on one with a patroller for the day. Information about these opportunities will be available on our website during the ski season.

I still need more information – who do I contact?

Please check out our website for more info about joining. If you have additional questions about joining, please email join@cspcalgary.ca