According to the National Ski Areas Association, there are around 40 deaths per year on the ski slopes of the country. Some of those deaths are from skiing, while the rest are from snowboarding. In addition to that, there are another 40 people per year who are seriously injured (e.g., paralysis). These numbers are low in comparison to some of the other events that people engage in, as well as for how many people engage in the sport each year. However, for the ski patrol it means serious business.
What They Do
The main focus of the ski patrol is safety. Those on the ski patrol have a mission to keep the ski resort safe and to assist with anyone who does get injured. Some of the duties that a ski patroller would be responsible for include:
• Handling any type of accidents that take place at the ski resort. Whether they take place on the lift, the chair or somewhere else at the resort, the ski patrol are the first people to get the radio message for help. A ski patroller will help provide assistance to those who are injured, which may include administering first aid and helping to safely bring someone down from the slopes to get medical assistance, as well as conduct lift evacuations.
• Those on the ski patrol are also responsible for helping to maintain the trail. In doing so, their job is to help create, and to maintain, a safe environment for people to ski in. They will conduct mountain sweeps, evacuations, and ensure that all code and rules are being followed at the resort.
• The ski patrol officers will also provide customer service and assist those in need or who may have questions.
• Their job also includes operations and risk management, as well as avalanche management.
Think of the ski patrol at a resort as the ambulance driver, who is also responsible for maintaining the safety of the roads they are patrolling. Those who are on the ski patrol will keep the resort safe, and assist those in need when and if the time comes that they are needed.
What is Needed
There is competition to get a ski patrol position, but with the proper training and experience you should have ample opportunity. While a college degree is not required, most positions do require that you have training in either EMT or emergency care, as well as be an expert skier. Other requirements include being able to lift at least 75 pounds, and have knowledge of blood born pathogens, which should be covered in your EMT or emergency care training. Being able to know how to administer first aid is essential to be on the ski patrol.
Most ski resorts will also require that you be at least 21 years old to be on the ski patrol, have excellent customer service skills, have at least a high school education, and be able to withstand cold temperatures and work in high altitude. Another skill that is needed to be on ski patrol is to be a team player, as you will be working with other members of the ski resort.
For someone who loves both skiing and helping others, being on ski patrol may be a perfect fit. The position will keep you busy, put you in the environment you like, and give you plenty of opportunity to ski. You will also have some perks come your way, such as ski passes for friends and family members. It can also be a fulfilling and rewarding position, as you help to keep the slopes safe so that people can have fun with their family and friends. You may also find it rewarding to help those in need or who are injured.
Being on the ski patrol can be a fun job, but it is important to note that it is generally a seasonal position. Some resorts may offer other activities during the off season and still need the patrol to provide safety and injury assistance, but if they don’t, you will need to find another temporary position during the off season each year. The average salary for someone on the ski patrol ranges from $9-12 per hour, depending on geographic location and experience.
Those interested in being on the ski patrol should start by seeking emergency care training, as well as learning the safety procedures and codes at the resort they are interested in working for. Before you know it, you could be conducting trail sweeps, taking in the amazing scenery, and helping people have a safe ski season!