By Louise Charron, Competition/Event Liaison Coordinator ( and Ryan Williams (

It is important in the CSP that we continually practice our skills to remain proficient and capable and competitions are the best way to do this. Mountain Division’s First Aid and On Snow Training Seminar, also known as “the Competition” was held at Marmot Basin Resort in Jasper, Alberta in early February.

Patrollers practice difficult extractions using specialized webbing. (Photo by Ryan Williams)

One benefit of gathering together is the opportunity for some extracurricular training. Terry Abrams led a one-day seminar on difficult extrications using advanced tools and techniques and toboggan-based CPR with a new device which measures compression efficiency of CPR. By analyzing the data after each attempt attendees received insight into how to adjust their technique to administer more effective CPR compressions. “It’s the first time we’ve had a dummy tell us how good or bad we’re doing,” said one participant.

This year’s competition featured nine teams from across the division, divided into rookie, mountain or open categories. Competitors range from first-year to seasoned veteran patrollers. Evaluation components included toboggan handling (loaded and unloaded) and a first aid scenario, each designed to test the skills required of a proficient patroller. All of the practising and planning is filtered down to 25 minutes of performance from start to finish.

There is also the infamous toboggan three-way relay race through a slalom course which was held in the afternoon.

Teams prepped by loading their toboggans with sandbags to simulate a loaded toboggan. The first challenge was to secure the sandbags to avoid spilling the load and being disqualified. The race comprised three sections with two transition areas and a mandatory side slip, giving each team member the opportunity to display their ability and enjoy piloting a toboggan at break neck speeds down the mountain to a high-speed finish. Of course there was the requisite cheering section to make the day.

Terry Abrams instructs a patroller how to use the CPR measurement device. (Photo by Ryan Willaims)

The rookie team Panorific achieved the highest overall marks in first aid and represented Mountain Division at the national first aid competition in April. Teams returned to their zones with fond memories, new and renewed friendships, and new skills that will have a lasting impact. The seminar has proven, over the years, to help patrollers increase their skill level, gain value-added training in first aid and on snow, and increase confidence in their abilities.

It was said best by an attendee, “the competition is how we rapidly improve our first aid skills and feel confident in any situation. Plus, it’s a ton of fun!”

Mountain Division First Aid and On Snow Training Seminar (aka Competition) a success