By Vivian Collings
Get ready to fasten your bindings and tighten your boots.
A new snow season is upon us, and skiers and boarders at Sir Sam’s can shred the slopes with peace of mind knowing they will be taken care of if anything goes awry.
This year, Sir Sam’s Ski Patrol team is seeking new members.
“Ski resorts cannot function without a patrol on duty. Treating and transporting injured guests to an EMS access point is basically what we do. Doing this smoothly and professionally mitigates further injuries and promotes a speedy recovery,” said George Sharp, ski patrol leader at Sir Sam’s in Eagle Lake.
Gordon Graham has been a ski patroller at Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride for five years with 10 years experience ski patrolling in total.
He said his experience as a ski patroller has been enjoyable and fulfilling.
“Ski Patrolling is a very, very rewarding winter pastime. We all have become good friends on the patrol. It is an opportunity to learn a variety of skills, both on the ski hill and as first-aiders. Our patrollers qualify for the Red Cross Emergency Care for Professional Responder certificate on completion of the training,” Graham said.
Sharp has been patrol leader of Sir Sam’s Ski Patrol for the past 10 years, and has 20 more years of experience in addition.
“It has been a very rewarding 10 years, not only because one is able to give purpose to one’s skiing, but because you can promote safe skiing and help people who, literally, run into problems on the hill,” Sharp said.
Graham explained that each patroller is expected to put in 15 days of patrolling per year.
“Lots of patrollers do more. We set our own schedules though, to suit the times that we’re available and if someone needs to exchange a shift, there is always someone ready to help out,” he said.
Among being able to help anyone who may need it, patrol volunteers can also expect to make a few friends.
“All of our patrollers have a keen interest in alpine skiing. Patrolling brings like-minded people together. We are a very social group of volunteers,” Sharp said.
He said ski patrol is a necessary service to any ski hill because it can ensure injuries are properly cared for on site.
Their training and certification is through the Red Cross EFR or EMR standard, but they accept Red Cross certifications on a case-by-case basis.
“There are also other training requirements throughout the season such as toboggan handling and chairlift evacuation,” he said.
Training will take place on Nov. 4, 5, and 6 for new members, and Nov. 11, 12, and 13 for members to renew their qualifications. Sharp said there are some vacancies left.
Those interested in joining the patrol can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Patrollers put in many, many unpaid hours to maintain their competencies and to ensure the ski hill is a safe environment, and we’re really interested in attracting new member,” Graham said. “It makes a long winter short. Spring and the end of the ski season always seem to come too soon.”
By Vivian Collings