“A year in the life of a patroller”
Recruiting, for us, is a year-long adventure but it really comes to a head in August as we start thinking about the ski season.
During the fall, we do advanced first aid training (40+ hours for new patrollers) or annual re-certification (20 hours for returning patrollers) and testing. Many of our hills have their own specific Field Days for localized training.(Lift evacuations, radio communications, oxygen etc.) Rookie Field Day is also held in early November, just before the snow flies. This is usually their first exposure to doing advanced first-aid in an outdoor environment.
At the beginning of the season, you will complete your on-snow training and certification as a new patroller (16 hours minimum) or re-certification as a returning patroller (every three years) where you’ll learn and practice toboggan handling, backboard loading techniques and lift evacuation procedures.
December to March/April
Get out and use those skills you gained during the fall training period. Rookie patrollers complete approx. 18 shifts, returning patrollers do approx. 20.
Those great folks who provided your advanced first aid training last fall are now very busy doing their Instructor Certification and re-certifications. If you are interested in becoming an Assistant Instructor, this is when you can expect to take a course in your area.
The first aid kits in many locations are still pretty busy. During the summer months, we provide advanced first aid services at many local non-skiing events including marathons, bike races, fundraising events, sporting tournaments and so on. Check what events are supported in your area through your local CSP contacts!
The cycle begins again with a new patrolling season.
“A day in the life of a patroller“
08:30 | Morning Sweep
Check toboggan caches, trauma kits, oxygen tanks. Make first tracks on the runs while checking for any hazardous conditions or items that need to be addressed prior to allowing the general public on the slopes.
08:30 – 12:00 | On Patrol
Once the slopes are open to the public we ski in small groups of patrollers, with friends, other clients or even with our family if we wish to. We socialize with ski area clientele, promote our ski area and provide safety tips to customers while we ride the lifts and ski the runs at our area. Yes, we really get to do the “ski” in ski patrolling!
12:00 – 13:00 | Lunch
Although everyone won’t be able to eat at the same time, you will get a break for some sustenance. Skiing and bringing toboggans down the hill make folks pretty hungry and you’ll need to take advantage of this break to recharge your batteries with some food!
13:00 | Closing (Still on Patrol)
Accidents can happen throughout the day however they seem to be most prominent after lunch through to closing time. It’s almost like car accidents that statistically happen closest to home; skiing accidents tend to happen closest to “going home”.
When snow sport enthusiasts get injured somewhere in the area, we are the people they count on. We work in teams to immobilize any injury they may sustain and safely move the injured person to the Patrol hut at the bottom of the mountain. Depending on the severity of their injuries, they will then be released or sent for further medical attention.
That’s not all though, during the day we provide many other services too. We reassure children that may be lost, helping them to find their parents; we guide people to runs they are capable of skiing and we provide many tidbits of information to the public.
Wearing a Ski Patrol uniform means we should know and represent our ski area well and be able to answer lots of queries, not just provide accident assistance. Helping people is the most gratifying part of being a patroller.
Closing Time (End of Day Sweep)
We take the last run down each trail to make sure that no one is left behind at the end of the day. During this “sweep” of the hill, we also take note of any safety issues that may have arisen during the day that will require correction prior to opening the slopes the following day. The Ski Patrol is first on and last off the hill!