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 and September as we start thinking about the ski season.
You can expect to be doing your first aid training (at least 60 hours for new patrollers) either as a 12 Week Course or a Compressed Course over 2 weekends (prior knowledge and experience required)or your annual re-certification (for returning patrollers) and testing sometime during this time frame. National Examinations are conducted along with a Field Training Day and a CPR, AED and airway management certification.
This is when you will be required to either complete your on-snow certification as a new patroller or re-certification as a returning patroller where you’ll learn and practice toboggan handling, backboard loading techniques and lift evacuation procedures.
Again, depending on where you ski, this is the time when you actually get to use all of those skills you’ve spent the fall training period learning and practicing. Some folks actually get to do this through until May, while others don’t ski after the end of March…a day in the life appears below…check it out to see what you’ll be up to!!
Those great folks who provided your first aid training last fall are really busy during these months 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.
Although we have all probably hung up our skis by now, our first aid kits in many locations are still pretty busy. During the summer months we do provide first aid services at many local non-skiing events including marathons, bike races, fundraising events, sporting tournaments and so on. Check for 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…
0830 (or about 30 minutes before the skiing public) Morning Sweep - make first tracks on the runs at our ski area while checking for any hazardous conditions or items that need to be addressed prior to allowing the general public on the slopes. Some of the best snow conditions are available to us!!
0830 – 1200 - On Patrol - Once the slopes are open to the public we can 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 and promote our ski area and provide safety tips to customers while we ride the lifts and ski the runs at our area. This puts the “ski” in ski patrolling!
1200 – 1300 – Lunch While everyone won’t be able to eat at the same time in the middle of the day, 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!
1300 – Closing - Still on Patrol – While accidents do happen throughout the day 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 bottom of the mountain. From our Patrol hut at the bottom, 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 out ski area well and be able to answer lots of queries, not just provide accident assistance.
Helping people in this way is the most gratifying part of being a patroller. All we have to do is just look into their face after we have helped them or as they leave the area.
Closing – End of Day Sweep - This procedure is where we take a last run down each trail, run or slope just 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. First run and last run belong to the Ski Patrol!
1800 or closing - ? After a sometimes hard and long day on the slopes, we often gather around a table for refreshments and perhaps a potluck supper and to talk about how much fun our day of patrolling was, another benefit of the camaraderie we enjoy within the CSP..
For the time of your life… And maybe someone
On Snow Skills Training