- See also Ski Patrol (disambiguation)
A Ski Patrol is an organization that provides Emergency Medical and rescue services to skiers and participants of other snow sports, either at a ski area or in a back country setting. Patrollers are trained in Basic or Advanced Life Support to stabilize and transport patients to definitive care, often with the same capabilities as in an ambulance. Patrollers can be EMT-Bs, or the equivalent of their nation's ski patrol training, and/or OEC technicians, EMT-Is or Paramedics. Due to the remote location and terrain, transportation is often limited to toboggan, snowmobile, snowcat, and helicopter. Patrollers are often well versed in avalanche search and rescue and other specialized techniques (e.g., chairlift evacuation, helicopter rappelling). Patrols work to promote ski safety, enforce area policies (where applicable), and help injured skiers when necessary. Ski patrollers also work to set up the mountain before it opens by conducting trail checks, providing avalanche control work, and setting up necessary equipment in preparation for the day. At the end of the day they also conduct a sweep clearing the mountain for off-hours.
Contrary to the name's implications, ski patrollers can be snowboarders in addition to alpine, telemark, or Nordic skiers. Many patrols also have non-skiing positions whereby patrollers no longer able to ski or individuals lacking sufficient skiing or toboggan handling skills can still provide emergency care in a first aid room. Some ski areas also have a junior ski patrol program in which teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 years old can participate. Most junior ski patrol programs limit the responsibilities of their members, such as preventing them from running toboggans or administering first aid without supervision. However, there are some areas with junior ski patrol programs which allow their members to operate with the same responsibilities as the rest of the patrol, after meeting the same standard in each skill category as other patrollers.
First Aid Committee -1933
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2011)|
In 1933 the Schenectady (New York) Wintersports Club was organizing Snow Trains for local skiers to go to the Gore Mountain-Pete Gay Massif above North Creek, New York to enjoy skiing on trails cut by local sports enthusiasts as well as from Schenectady. Because of tales learned of injured skiers on the early (1931) Boston to New Hampshire (Franconia) Snow Trains, the organizers decided to have a large and well prepared First Aid Committee. Headed by Lois Perret (Schaefer), RN, and aided by expert skiers from the Schenectady Wintersports Club, as well as North Creek High School students, a course on first aid and ski related injuries was taught to several dozen recruits. The Snow Trains were delayed because of a lack of snow in 1933/1934, but sufficient snow cover was achieved late, and the first Snow Train reached North Creek March 4, 1934. The First Aid Committee swung into action, sweeping trails for skiers needing assistance. The train acted as a base camp on the siding during the day. While no injuries were treated on that first trip, the First Aid Committee (AKA Ski Patrol) continued active participation on trains reaching North Creek during the pre-war years. They were assisted by a "physician-on-call," Dr. Woodall, a skier who served as head of surgery at Albany (NY) Medical Center. The First Aid Committee of 1933 anticipated the much needed assistance pioneered by Minnie Dole five (5) years later in conjunction with care for injured ski racers who were pushing limits of speed and technique. The first ski patrol was about helping mountainside injuries to regular ski enthusiasts—not racers.[verification needed]
National Ski Patrol
The National Ski Patrol in USA was founded in 1938 by the NSP's first chairman, Charles Minot Dole. "Minnie," as he was known, decided that a "service and safety" organization was in order after he hurt himself skiing at Stowe, Vermont and had trouble evacuating himself from the slope. He created the Mount Mansfield Ski Patrol for the National Downhill and Slalom Championship at Mt. Mansfield. Roger F. Langley the president of the National Ski Association asked Dole to consider a national patrol. Dole later went on to create the 10th Mountain Division after seeing Finnish soldiers on skis destroy two armored divisions. One of the few federally chartered not-for-profit organizations in the U.S., the NSP has since become the world's largest winter rescue organization. The NSP's 26,500 paid and volunteer members serve on over 600 patrols.
The NSP is composed of 10 geographic divisions plus a single division for all paid patrollers. Members are recognized on the slopes by the red jackets they wear marked by a white cross on the chest and a larger one on the back, or by the older style of blue and rust colored parkas with yellow crosses.
Merits, Awards and Ranking; The levels of the National Ski Patrol are 1.Patroller 2.Alpine Patroller 3.Senior 4.Certified. There are also levels of personal achievement given to a Ski Patroller who goes beyond the call of duty is awarded the Yellow Merit Star. The highest Honor of the National Ski Patrol is the Purple merit star, this is awarded for saving a life.
National Ski Patrol has an ongoing education system which includes OEC refreshers, and OEC classes.
Over the course of its history, the NSP has helped to develop similar patrol organizations in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Israel, Turkey and Korea.
Canadian Ski Patrol System
The Canadian Ski Patrol System is the patrol governing body for Canada.
In 1940, Dr. Douglas Firth was asked by the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA) to organize and train a first aid rescue group to patrol the ski hills. The Canadian Ski Patrol System was originally a standing committee of the CASA with independent patrols in different areas. During the years between 1941 and 1948, the war restricted expansion, but the Toronto and Montreal Patrols united to form the nucleus of a national organization. During the next five years, the System expanded in Ontario, Quebec and the Vancouver area.
The founder and President of the Quebec area was led by James Harold Millard, a resident of Montreal and Morin Heights. Harold became National Chairman for Canada, following Dr Firth. In the early years, those who were injured were taken down the hill on a toboggan where they were then loaded onto the train for transportation to Montreal for medical care. Many photos of the original patrol in Quebec were turned over to the CSPS in the late 90s for their archives. The family tradition continued when both Harold's daughter-in-law and grandson were members of the CSPS in Ontario and Alberta.
By 2004, the Canadian Ski Patrol had 5,000 members across Canada.
The CSPS is composed of nine geographic divisions. Members are recognized by the yellow and blue jackets they wear marked by a blue maple leaf superimposed with a yellow cross. (Note: This is not the same as the marketing logo.) Different logos are made at different times.
- International Ski Heritage Journal 2009.
- National Ski Patrol
- Professional Ski Patrol Association
- Fédération Internationale des Patrouilles de Ski / International Federation of Ski Patrollers
- Australian Ski Patrol Association
- British Association of Ski Patrollers
- Canadian Ski Patrol System
- Snowvalley Ski Patrol - Barrie Ontario
- Swiss Ski Patrol
- Serbian Ski Patrol
- Alberta Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (AARDA)
- (US) Loon Mountain Ski Patrol
- (US) Bear Mountain Patrol
- (US) Mt. Baldy Ski Patrol
- (US) Mt. Holly Ski Patrol
- (US) Mt. Pinos Nordic Ski Patrol
- (US) Homewood Volunteer Ski Patrol, CA