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What is the National Ski Patrol?

Copyright © 2004 National Ski Patrol System, Inc.

The National Ski Patrol (NSP) is a Federally Chartered nonprofit membership association dedicated to serving the public and the mountain recreation industry by providing education services about emergency care and safety.

For more than 55 years, the NSP has been at the forefront of safety and emergency care education programs. The association's 28,500 members represent 98 percent of the nation's patrollers, whether or not they are paid by or volunteer for their home area.. These members, through NSP's award-winning Outdoor Emergency Care program, are the principal delivery system of emergency care training for ski area patrollers. NSP also develops training for non-medical roles, including toboggan handling, avalanche rescue, mountain host programs, and more.

NSP also reaches members through nationally funded education materials and programs, division newsletters, and local clinics. Through its divisions, NSP conducts training events to supplement training provided by the ski areas. This cooperative effort ensures that members are serving the needs of area management while staying in tune with a nationally standardized system. The national office is located in Lakewood, Colorado, and is staffed with full-time employees to handle administrative duties.

The mission statement of the National Ski Patrol:

We are a member-driven association. Our members support and participate in the ski and outdoor recreation community by providing emergency care, rescue, and education services. Our association supports us by surpassing member expectations through:

A Brief History of the National Ski Patrol:

The National Ski Patrol (NSP), founded in 1938 by Charles M. (Minnie) Dole, had followed its creed of "Service and Safety" since the establishment of skiing as a popular sport in the United States. The NSP has become the largest winter rescue organization in the world. It is composed of more than 28,500 members serving over 600 ski patrols including volunteer, paid, alpine, snowboard and nordic patrollers throughout the United States and certain military areas in Europe.

The National Ski Patrol has worked closely with other countries in outdoor emergency care education, and has assisted in establishing ski patrol organizations in Canada, Korea, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey, Argentina and Chile, as well as the Victorian Rescue Service in Australia. The NSP was organized and directed by Dole as a committee of the National Ski Association (now the United States Ski Association). Through his efforts as the first national director of the NSP, the organization spread its effects and esprit de corps across the nation. Upon his retirement in 1950, Dole had built the NSP into an organization of 300 ski patrols and 4,000 members. During World War II, Dole was responsible for the establishment of the famed 10th Mountain Division of the US Army. Applicants for this remarkable military unit, which saw much of its fighting activity in Italy, were screened by the NSP. Many individuals who were responsible for the establishment of many ski areas in the US served in the 10th Mountain Division, and have contributed significantly to the sport.

The NSP is composed of 10 geographic and one professional division for paid patrollers. The organizations' members are engaged in patrol activity on the slopes and in the promotion of safety programs across the mountain recreation community. Safe skiing and snowboarding attitudes are offered to the public continuously in a sincere effort to reduce accidents and make mountain sports more enjoyable.

The NSP, in addition to its own ski safety programs, works closely with the United States Ski Team, National Ski Area Association, Ski Industries America, Professional Ski Instructors of America, US Ski Writers Association, US Forest Service, National Park Service, and other organizations and agencies in the promotion of skiing and ski safety. Movies, television, radio, brochures, lectures and ski area signage all devoted to ski safety have either been initiated by the NSP or cooperatively produced.

In 1980, the National Ski Patrol was recognized as a Federal Charter by the United States Congress. This is a coveted endorsement that only a few other American institutions, like the Red Cross, the YMCA, and the Boy Scouts, have earned. The Charter stipulates the promotion of safety and health in skiing and other outdoor winter recreational activities. The NSP annually reports directly to Congress.

The usefulness, stature and position of the National Ski Patrol had been attained through the devoted efforts of thousands of ski patrollers, some of whom have become involved in other phases of the sport. The NSP is continually growing and improving, offering many invaluable services to area management as well as to the public to include summertime activities such as mountain biking.

The National Ski Patrol is a nonprofit organization, deriving its primary financial support from membership dues, donations, user fees, and corporate sponsorship. The national office is located in Lakewood, Colorado, and is staffed with full-time employees to handle administrative duties.

Becoming a Member

There's really no such thing as a typical ski patroller. Nevertheless, when you hear the words "ski patroller," you probably think of someone performing a mountain-side rescue of an injured skier. The truth is, it takes all kinds to make this team. Emergency care is an important part of the mission of the National Ski Patrol. But it's just one way patrollers help the public . We educate. We communicate. We participate!

National Ski Patrol members are people with a strong desire to help others. People who want to learn - and use - emergency care skills, improve their skiing or snowboarding, and help make mountain recreation safer for all. If this sounds like you, read on and find out how you can join this exclusive team.

Gain The Advantages Of Higher Education

National Ski Patrol education programs offer you the chance to learn about emergency care, search and rescue, avalanche control, lift evacuation, mountaineering, toboggan handling, and other interesting topics! You'll test your knowledge and your skills with personalized support from your area and fellow patrollers. You'll also receive a free subscription to Ski Patrol Magazine, which provides timely information on emergency care and rescue techniques, skiing and snowboarding tips, association news, and more. NSP programs are an exciting challenge-in the classroom and on the slopes!

Find Your Niche

Many ski areas depend on volunteer patrol members to meet their many needs. Other areas employ full-time, paid patrollers, or use a combination of paid and volunteer staff to provide patrol services. In any case, the profile of the National Ski Patrol member is that of a person willing to work hard, devote many hours, and continually enhance personal knowledge and skills. Here are just a few of the ways you can serve as a member of the patrol:

Patroller - A person who provides emergency care to injured or ill area guests ; also may be responsible for a wide variety of area safety activities. (A skiing or snowboarding position).

Nordic Patroller - A person who provides emergency care to injured or ill area guests; also may be responsible for a wide variety of area safety activities (A skiing position).

Auxiliary Patroller - A person who provides emergency care to injured or ill guests, but may not transport guests off the hill/slope; may help lead training and education activities. (Skiing or snowboarding skills helpful but not always mandatory.)

Medical Associate - A volunteer physician who assists on Winter Emergency Care training and general medical training of patrollers. Requires medical credentials.

Associate Member - An individual who has a need or desire to take National Ski Patrol courses and be associated with the National Ski Patrol.

How You Can Join The National Ski Patrol

Volunteer and paid patroller membership requirements of National Ski Patrol members include:

1. Association with a local patrol as an alpine skier or snowboarder, nordic patroller, or auxiliary patroller.
2. Complete credentialed courses and annual training, refreshers, and continuing education in Outdoor Emergency Care, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR-BLS for Health Care Providers or CPR-BLS for the Professional Rescuer), skiing and toboggan handling (except for auxiliary), and other local patrol training requirements.

These are basic NSP requirements for all members; however, you may be expected to undergo additional training. After applying to join a patrol, you usually are asked to demonstrate your skiing skills. If they are acceptable for that patrol, you become a patrol candidate. The education and training programs identified above are organized through your local patrol or within the region where your ski area is located. After passing all performance objectives (written and practical) and demonstrating your competency in all education and training programs, you will be invited to officially join the patrol as a patroller.

We encourage you to contact the Patrol Representatives at the ski areas of your choice to get an idea of the specific qualifications and experience they are seeking for their patrol members. Although the national office may not know the patroller needs at a specific area, we can direct you to patrol directors and NSP officers to contact within your location.

Associate registrants are individuals who may participate and be credentialed in NSP training or education programs, but have no patrol affiliation, no patrol skill designations, and do not perform any on-the-hill/trail ski patrolling duties. These registrations go directly to the national headquarters.

Work Hard, Play Hard

There's nothing more rewarding than putting in a hard day's work - and having a good time doing it. The main objective of being a National Ski Patrol member is to assist area management in caring for injured skiers and in making mountain recreation safer and more fun. But, there are many other benefits. You'll be a respected part of the industry. You'll perfect your skills. And you'll make friendships that will last a lifetime.

Becoming a Giants Ridge Ski Patroller

To get more information about becoming a member of the Giants Ridge Ski Patroller, please click here to fill out an on-line application.

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