WHAT IS THE NATIONAL SKI PATROL?
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN AROUND?
The National Ski Patrol is a nonprofit organization, deriving its primary financial support from membership dues, donations, user fees and corporate sponsorship. The national office is located in Lakewood, Colorado, and is
The National Ski Patrol (NSP), founded in 1938 by Charles M. (Minnie) Dole, had followed its creed of "Service and Safety" since the establishment of skiing as a popular sport in the United States.
staffed with full-time employees to handle administrative duties.
The NSP is composed of 10 geographic and one professional division for paid patrollers. The organizations' members are engaged in patrol activity on the slopes and in the promotion of safety programs across the outdoor recreation community. Safe skiing and snowboarding attitudes are offered to the public continuously in a sincere effort to reduce accidents and make outdoor snowsports more enjoyable.
The NSP, in addition to its own ski safety programs, works closely with the United States Ski Team, National Ski Area Association, Ski Industries America, Professional Ski Instructors of America, US Ski Writers Association, US Forest Service, National Park Service, and other organizations and agencies in the promotion of skiing and ski safety. Movies, television, radio, brochures, lectures and ski area signage all devoted to ski safety have either been initiated by the NSP or cooperatively produced.
In 1980, the National Ski Patrol was recognized as a Federal Charter by the United States Congress. This is a coveted endorsement that only a few other American institutions, like the Red Cross, the YMCA, and the Boy Scouts, have earned. The Charter stipulates the promotion of safety and health in skiing and other outdoor winter recreational activities. The NSP annually reports directly to Congress.
WHAT DOES THE NSP DO?
LOTS!!! In general the NSP is about safety. This takes several forms.
- First-aid: If you hurt yourself, chances are that the person who will help you get to further advanced medical care is an NSPmember. We do “lots” of first-aid!
- Avalanche control/rescue: The National Ski Patrol provides training on avalanche control and avalanche rescue techniques.
- Lift Evacuation: If the lift breaks down the person lowering you out of the chair will be a patroller.
- Hill Safety: The NSP is dedicated to promoting safe skiing. Marking obstacles, ski area boundaries, maintaining closures, etc. are all part of hill safety.
- Information: Generally the patrollers spend a lot of time just talking to people on chairlifts, providing area information, and just plain trying to insure that everybody else is having as much fun as possible!
WHY SHOULD JOIN the nsp?
Well, to start with it's a very rewarding activity. Most of your "customers" are really glad to see us! In addition you'll develop new skills, hone your skiing ability, be involved in a community service, and will be hanging around with a bunch of people who love to ski!
IS OUTDOOR EMERGENCY CARE (OEC) TRAINING THE SAME AS EMT?
The OEC program is a sequenced, competency-based education program taught at a similar level as the EMT-B course content. It prepares candidate patrollers and other outdoor rescuers without previous first aid or EMT training to handle the emergency care problems encountered in the non-urban setting. The knowledge and skills learned are oriented toward the wilderness environment, with special emphasis on ski and snowboard injuries, high-altitude and cold-weather illness, wilderness extrications, and the special equipment needed for emergency care and transportation in the outdoor environment.
WHAT'S REQUIRED TO BECOME A MEMBER?
You start by contacting the patrol at your favorite ski area. The first year you will start off as a candidate. The requirements are as follows:
- NSP Introduction to Patrolling (Estimate: 20 hrs)
- On-Hill training (Skiing/Snowboarding and Toboggan handling) (Estimate: 30 hrs.)
- OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) course (Estimate: 80 hrs)
- CPR certification (Estimate: 4 hrs)
- Chair lift evacuation training (Estimate: 6 hrs)
AM I PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY EMERGENCY CARE I PROVIDE?
No matter what you do in life, you are responsible for your actions. The State of Minnesota, like many other states, has a Good Samaritan Law. Read it carefully! Minnesota State Statute 604A.01.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AS A MEMBER FOR NSP AT BUCK HILL?
We expect the following: 30 hours per month while the ski area is open, annual OEC refresher, annual CPR refresher, annual chair evacuation refresher, participate in on- hill refreshers for skiing/riding and tobogganing, and continue to maintain a high level of skiing and/or boarding skills. All patrollers participate in continuing education throughout the season offered by ski patrol.
One thing we constantly repeat is to have FUN. Get to know others who enjoy the sport of skiing, snowboarding, etc. Make new friends. And, do some skiing or boarding!
IS THERE A RULE BOOK FOR PATROLLERS AT BUCK HILL?
Yes. You will receive the following publications as the course progresses: The NSPS Outdoor Emergency Care manual, the NSPS Patroller’s manual, the NSP/NSAA Chair Evacuation manual, the NSP Emergency Transportation manual, the BHSP evacuation manual, and the BHSP Policy and Procedure manual.
IS THERE A DRESS CODE?
Yes. Candidates in the Mountain Guide program at Buck Hill are required to wear black pants, a helmet, and the uniform vest provided by the Buck Hill Ski Patrol. While on the hill, you must have a lift ticket visible. The standard patrol jacket or vest is not required until all training is successfully completed. The dress code for the Buck Hill Ski Patrol is a red and black or solid red jacket, with appropriate insignia, fanny pack or backpack, helmet, and black pants.
IS IT TRUE TO PATROLLERS SKI FOR FREE AT BUCK HILL?
Yes. But, it also depends on your concept of the word "free". While it's true that patrollers don't pay for their tickets, it's equally true that we work for that benefit! Buck Hill ski patrollers and candidates are given a season pass good only at Buck Hill. Each patroller pays annual dues to the NSP, pays for their CPR recertification, and makes sure to have all equipment updated and in working order
WHAT OTHER BENEFITS ARE THERE WHEN I JOIN SKI PATROL?
Once you're on the patrol you will generally find more "ins" with the skiing community...which means you have a better chance of finding pro-form deals on equipment, clothing, eyewear, discount lift tickets at many mountain resorts, etc. You will even get a discount if you buy a new Subaru!!!
Buck Hill appreciates your volunteer service. In addition to a free season pass, you will receive monthly complimentary passes for your family and friends (minimum hours must be maintained), food discounts, ski lessons, and more!
WHAT OTHER OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE ONCE I AM A SKI PATROLLER?
There are many organizations that think very highly of ski patrollers. Throughout the year, you will see requests for patrollers to help at biking events, marathons, American Red Cross functions, etc. There are training programs through the National Ski Patrol: Mountaineering, Avalanche Safety, Ski/Snowboard Seminars, Toboggan Seminars, Instructor Development, and more!
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?
The National Ski Patrol is a federally chartered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. As such your contributions to the Buck Hill Ski Patrol, purchase of equipment used exclusively for patrolling, patrol clothing, mileage, etc. MAY be tax deductible (note the careful wording of this sentence... consult your accountant to be sure!).
Robert Vandenbos, Patrol Director