A day in the life of a patroller…
Volunteer patrollers have a varied and interesting role; never boring, sometimes incredibly difficult, sometimes emotional, often fun.
Patrollers help people in times of need and gain a great deal of satisfaction from their work. Patrollers are some of the best skiers and boarders on the mountain – with extra skills.
We start the typical day with a briefing to make sure we know what events are happening during the day. We also get a weather update and lift opening and closing time adjustments. The mountains are fickled when it comes to weather, so flexibility is the key and plans can change. You should be prepared too.
Next, the slopes are checked for risks with rope-lines, pads, closures, danger poles, signs and temporary fences put in place to help provide guidance to guests. At the end of the day though, it is still up to the guest to assess the risk for their personal circumstances and ability. By this time, the lifts have been checked and we open the runs for access.
During the day risks are reassessed and changes made. We provide navigation advice and answer questions. We encourage people to ski under control and in particular apply the Alpine Responsibility Code. If an injury does occurs, we help those people with first-aid, or in more serious circumstances evacuate them to advanced medical care. Ski patrollers can quickly get to incidents if they can ski down to them, so staffing a bump station is also part of the job.
In the bump stations, equipment is checked, and repairs made where necessary. Refurbishment and relocation of previously used equipment back to its ready-to-go position also takes place during the day.
On some days we also get to ski for a bit!!
Towards the end of the day, we sweep the mountain; progressively closing lifts, checking to make sure no-one is left airborne on a lift, or wandering in the trees. On overcast and snowy days extra diligence is taken to make sure people are off the mountain. You will hear the caterwauling call coming through the mist: ‘Closing!’ – and a red jacket and white cross will suddenly appear next to you.
The lifts are closed, the light is dimming, radios are returned, gear is set to dry and the paperwork is handed in.
Ready for another day. Come and join us.
More than just on-hill…
We are all volunteers of the alpine community and give our time freely to help raise funds to support the free services that PSP Inc. provides. Our patroller’s work on the ski runs. We also have a smaller group of summer patrollers who patrol the trails during the summer months and provide assistance for specific events.
The patrol actively recruits new patrollers each year. If you think you might be interested check out our Become A Patroller section.
Patrollers have advanced first-aid and advanced emergency care certifications, with annual re-certification in CPR, defibrillation, analgesic pain relief, and oxygen administration.
The initial training takes about two seasons. Competency assessments are undertaken in advanced first-aid, emergency transportation, sled work, orientation, radio procedures, medical administration, risk identification and assessment which are done before you get to go near a guest. Once completed we get to go out in all weather and snow conditions to apply those skills.