Section 14: National Ski Patrol
The best thing to do is to contact the patrol at your favorite ski
area. Don't be shy, just ski up to any patroller and ask 'em how to
In many cases there will be some sort of "ski-off" in which you will
demonstrate your skiing ability. You will also be required to take
a fairly intensive first aid course called WEC (Winter Emergency
Care). WEC generally takes around 60 hours of instruction.
Your first season will generally be a "candidate" year during which
you will be trained in sled handling, hill procedures, and probably
more first aid. Following this training there will usually be a
test which will include skiing, sled handling, and first-aid.
Lots. In general the NSP is about safety. This takes several forms.
Well, to start with it's a very rewarding activity. Most of your
"customers" are *really* glad to see you! 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!
If you hurt yourself, chances are that the person who will help
you get to the doctor is a NSP member. We do *lots* of first-aid.
- Avalanche control/rescue:
The National Ski Patrol provides training on avalanche control
and avalanche rescue techniques.
- Lift Evac:
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,
the ski area boundries, maintaining closures, etc. are all part
of hill safety.
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
This depends entirely on the hill. 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 like crazy
for that benefit!
The National Ski Patrol is a Federally chartered non-profit
organization. As such your contributions to the patrol may be
tax deductable (note the careful wording of this sentence...
consult your accountant!). In addition, 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 skis, bindings, boots, etc.