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Passed ski patrol skiing test! (Read 1774 times)

    Ten days into toboggan training.

     

    I hardly can describe how physically demanding this is.  I'm volunteering at a Colorado ski resort that has wonderful steep moguls.  Spent all day Saturday and Sunday practicing taking 200+ lbs. fellow patrollers down one of the most epic runs in Colorado.

     

    I'm bruised all over.

     

    The contorted stretgths and edged reaching that patrollers need to do on these most demanding runs to give a guest a smooth, safe ride down is amazing.

     

    At least five more weekend training days to go.  Toboggan test is next month.

      And then finally yesterday, *passed* the toboggan test and got a red jacket with a white cross.


      Needs more cowbell!

        So cool!  When does the season end?

        Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

        '14 Goals:

        • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

          Another month, but not so much snow--we'll see.

            Some goals and "look what I can do" take a long time.

             

            I'm about 2/3 through my probationary year now.

             

            So far, I've volunteered 13 days and have worked 36 incidents ranging from kids' owies to a guy who took a high-speed face plant and was going in and out of consciousness.

             

            I ran 3 sleds yesterday and am sore today.

            AlexaCT


              Congrats!  What mountain?  My husband was a pro patrol at Mammoth for a few years in the late 90s.  Says it was the best days of his life.  I have to nudge him and remind him he didn't know me then Smile

               

              Have an amazing experience!!

              I can and I will!


              delicate flower

                Very cool!  Congratulations.  Unfortunately I had to use the ski patrol services recently at Mount Snow.  Got my fat ass sledded to base first aid thanks to an ACL and meniscus tear. SNAPPO!  I literally could not have been further away from first aid.  The patroller had to stop a couple of times to rest because the schlep was so far.  He was awesome though.

                 

                roboknee.

                  Congrats!  What mountain?  My husband was a pro patrol at Mammoth for a few years in the late 90s.  Says it was the best days of his life.  I have to nudge him and remind him he didn't know me then Smile

                   

                  Have an amazing experience!!

                   

                  It's at a Colorado mountain.

                    Very cool!  Congratulations.  Unfortunately I had to use the ski patrol services recently at Mount Snow.  Got my fat ass sledded to base first aid thanks to an ACL and meniscus tear. SNAPPO!  I literally could not have been further away from first aid.  The patroller had to stop a couple of times to rest because the schlep was so far.  He was awesome though.

                     

                     

                    Saturday I may have had a guest with a similar injury.  I referred her to the clinic.

                     

                    On the schlepp, we have skidoos to tug us across the flats and to get us up over ridges.  Saturday, we were busy and I had a couple loaded sleds that I had to skate a good haul myself.

                     

                    Sorry about the injury and I hope you have a strong recovery.

                      SO jealous!  ...

                      Please fill us in on what the job is like...and photos! Smile

                       

                      First, it's a lot of work.  Second, I think there's some sort of allure that it's glamorous.  While I suppose there are small moments of that, it's mostly a lot of waiting, a lot of physical work, a few intense moments, and from time-to-time very sincere thanks from guests and that's the part that's quite rewarding.

                       

                      We get up early.  I'm usually up before 5:00AM for the drive up and then pulling into the parking lot at about 7:20AM in order to sign-in for the part of the mountain I want to cover.

                       

                      First thing is trail checks.  As a rookie, this last weekend I got one of the wide green thoroughfare runs that has a lot of fences and stuff to put up.

                       

                      During the day, on our mountain, we rotate through sitting at the patrol shack waiting for dispatch to send us out on a call.  Saturday, I had four incidents to work.  First, there was an elderly man reporting altitude sickness at one of the on-mountain restaurants.  Hearing that reported, I was foremost concerned about heart attack.  We have an AED at the restaurant.  Second was a ski school student who hurt her knee.  It wasn't anything and she just didn't want to spend the afternoon with the rest of her class progressing in the moguls.  I returned her to the ski instructor for him to deal with.  Third was a woman who took a hard fall and heard her knee pop.  Getting her down in the toboggan, I referred her to the clinic.  The fourth this last weekend was a pre-teen girl with her family in the trees between runs who hit a log or something else under the snow and twisted and broke her ankle.  She was in significant pain, crying loudly and unstoppably, and we were on the backside of a ridge.  Since I was alone, I was able to use a couple mountain hosts and the girl's dad to help safely load her into the toboggan.  After getting a first skidoo tug to get over the ridge, we were busy and I couldn't get a skidoo tug across one of the later flatter areas and had to unzip everything and skate it as the girl's still crying in pain behind.  During the day, I also fetched a drop pole under a lift line in unskied powder.

                       

                      End of the day is sweeps.  My last incident down in the triage room at the base went late into the afternoon.  I was able to catch the last chair up (after the mechanics had technically shut it down but I wanted to get my backpack and poles from up top).  I didn't have a sweep this day where we make sure nobody's left on the mountain.  Instead, I got to zip down an empty, wide blue at somewhere between 50 and 60 mph.

                       

                      After, we had drinks with members of a ski club.

                       

                      The next day I was rather sore from driving three toboggans.

                       

                      That's kind of what it's like.  About some common misperceptions:

                       

                      • We cut line to get back to work, not to get another run in.  We can't really help anyone standing in line.  We have to get back up to the top, to be in position for being dispatched.  That's where the public doesn't see us waiting (and waiting).
                      • We're not cops.  We try to keep it safe and encourage people to slow down in the tighter spots of the mountain, but otherwise, there's very little preventive we do.
                      • We take collisions very seriously.  The only time this year I've seen another patroller get very emotional at all is when a) one guest was out of control and collided into another guest and has significantly injured them and/or put them in pain and b) the guest causing it has attitude and mouth rather than genuinely human contrition and concern.
                      • We don't poach.  The only reasons we duck ropes or otherwise go to closed terrain is to do stuff like take a shortcut across the mountain to an injured guest or to prepare terrain for its opening or to fetch a dropped piece of equipment from a lift line.  We also take poaching among guests seriously because of avalanche risk.
                      • I now actually ski much less than I did before--fewer runs per day.

                      Other mountains may be different, but that's been my experiences.  It's a lot of work and a broad set of different skills that range from navigation, communications, medical, conflict management, to advanced skiing.

                        Two years after the skiing skills test, I've finished the candidate year and the probationary year and was voted on as a regular senior patroller.

                         

                        Here's the run-down of how much time it took:

                         

                        - Lots of hard training over several years to become a good enough skier (typically 20 or so long mogul runs a day)
                        - Failing the ski test 2009 and 2010 by a small margin
                        - Passing the ski test in 2011
                        - Outdoor Emergency Care training in 2011 (120 hour class)
                        - OEC written test in 2011
                        - OEC practicals test in 2011
                        - CPR in 2011
                        - Resort-specific protocols practicals test in 2011
                        - Lift evac training in 2011
                        - 16 days of toboggan training in 2012
                        - Toboggan test in 2012
                        - Resort mountain logistics workbook
                        - Resort mountain logistics test in 2012 (all lifts, trails, phones, toboggan locations, and several dozen location nicknames of cuts and traverses)
                        - Skidoo toboggan hauling safety training 
                        - CPR refresher in 2012
                        - OEC refresher in 2012
                        - Lift evac refresher in 2012
                        - Dozens of cases worked in 2012/13 - backboards, fractures, incident report paperwork, on-lift incident paperwork, multiple-person collision paperwork, …
                        - Attendance at monthly meetings during the season

                        - Voted on by patrol in 2013

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