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Becoming a National Ski Patrolman

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on January 21, 2019 05:31

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A brief glimpse into the training required to be on the National Ski Patrol

In 1960, one of my classmates in high school worked as the director of the local ski patrol at Dodge Ridge Ski Resort. He said that if I got my advanced first aid card or instructors’ card he would put me on weekends as a local ski patroller. By September of 1961 I was a member in training of the Dodge Ridge Local Ski Patrol. 

After patrolling all day, we would eat dinner at the ski lodge, and then many of us would go to the bar at Pinecrest, California, and have a patrol meeting. At one of these meetings, I was asked to sign up as a member of the National Ski Patrol for the following year. 

By 1963, after my training, I worked as a National Ski Patrolman. The National Ski Patrol rescues people who get hurt doing winter sports activities—they are dedicated volunteers. 

The training goes on all year at their monthly meetings. Then they go on the ski hill, before the ski resort open opens up, in  late August or early September for on the hill training. 

For many years women could not patrol the ski areas, because owners of the ski resorts felt that it was too hard for women to lift men onto the emergency toboggans to bring them to the emergency hut. Once they demonstrated that they were able to do the work, including using the different type of toboggans, snow machines, rescues from the chairs, and avalanche rescue, they were on the hill rescuing injured skiers. 

The National Ski Patrol was started in 1938 by Charles Minot Dole, a member of the “10th Mountain Division Of The United States”—a group of trained skiers that fought in Italy during WWII. Out of this group of men, came the first National Ski Patrolmen. Today you will see National Ski Patrolmen and women at every ski area, and in many cases areas where there are avalanches.

As long as they can keep up with the younger patrolmen and women, they will remain on the active list. 

If they can’t, they become life members, and still promote safety for groups that go skiing. 

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on January 21, 2019 05:31

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Source: KOB 4

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