Visual Encyclopedia

Ski patrol

Ski patrols are organizations that provide medical, rescue, and hazard prevention services to the injured in ski area boundaries, or sometimes beyond into backcountry settings. Many have technical-medical certifications, such as Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) provided by the National Ski Patrol (USA), that are specific to the winter-season environment and providing emergency medical services in remote locations. Many patrollers also hold EMS issued credentials, such as Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or any other pre-hospital care certification. Due to the remote location and terrain, transportation is often limited to ski toboggan, snowmobile, or, for life-compromising injuries or extremely remote terrain, helicopter rescue. Depending on the ski area terrain, ski patrollers can be versed in a large variety of specialized rescues, such as avalanche search and rescue, Outdoor Emergency Transportation, chairlift evacuation, and, in some cases, helicopter rescue techniques are taught. Patrols work to promote ski safety, enforce area policies (where applicable), and help the injured within their jurisdiction. 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. Currently, the organization is made up of more than 29,000 members serving over 650 patrols.

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Ski Patrol Alumni

The National Ski Patrol offers an Alumni program for Patrollers who want to stay involved in Ski Patrol after they no longer wish to provide medical or emergency care. The Alumni program was founded in 1977. They created this program so that even after someone hangs up their skis for good they can still remain involved in Ski Patrol.

Contributed by Julie DuPrey

This video gives you a glimpse of what it like to be a Patroller.

Contributed by Julie DuPrey

The different divisions of Patrols

With this picture you can see which states fall under what divisions.

Contributed by Julie DuPrey

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