Requirements for Ski Patrol: [What to Know to Join]

Ski Patrol is a very popular job in the winter which you can get if you can meet the requirements for ski patrol. Ski Patrol requires physical fitness, teamwork skills, and a good attitude. It also requires members with strong communication skills and the ability to work well with others.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about being a ski patroller so you know the requirements for ski patrol and what you need to know to join.

Ski patrol riding on the mountain trails.
Ski Patrol in powder. Photo Credit: DennyMont (Flickr CC)

National Ski Patrol Requirements: Qualifications For Ski Patrol

As the popularity of skiing continues to grow in the United States, so does the need for ski patrollers. To meet this need, many colleges have developed programs to train prospective ski patrollers in areas like Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) and ski area management.

Outdoor Emergency Care is the national ski patrol’s recognized program for training patrollers which everyone has to complete. The signature course teaches ski patrol candidates how to rescue in the outdoors, how to prevent further injury to the patient and how to secure the scene safely.

The process may sound very interesting and it is but just remember, it isn’t easy to become ski patrol. The commitment is a long one and the ski patrol job requirements are strict. There are two paths as well, volunteer patrol and pro ski patrol. When you get to the end of the training, it is extremely rewarding but keeps in mind you’ll have to do annual refresher courses too.

If you have dreams of being on the mountain for most of the season, helping other people and a job that is outside, ski patrol may be the one you were looking for all along.

What Are Some Emergencies Ski Patrol Helps With?

The type of emergencies that the typical ski patrol candidate varies but often they train for the following-

  • Chair lift evacuation
  • Avalanche mitigation
  • First Aid
  • Mountain rescues
  • Snow condition assessments

Ski patrollers are not just out on the mountain telling skiers and snowboarders to slow down. When things get the toughest on the mountain, they are on scene. In addition to training for Outdoor Emergency Care, ski patrol needs the American Heart Association Heartsaver FirstAid CPR AED Course.

Individuals who are already paramedics, advanced EMTs or current EMTs can get fast-tracked to getting their OEC tech card and becoming a member of ski patrol at the national level.

Assessing requirements for ski patrol
Ski Patrol practicing on mountain. Photo Credit: Photolibrium (Flickr CC)

How to Join National Ski Patrol: Steps to Take

To get started and join the national ski patrol, start with these steps-

2. They will outline all the steps you need to become a candidate at the national ski patrol level.

3. From there, you will need to schedule the applicable courses to become a full-fledged ski patroller.

That is just the start though. From there you can increase your knowledge and learn to become more advanced. There are ski patrol certification requirements if you want to be a certified patroller. Being certified is the highest level for alpine patrollers. Certified patrols become a master in the following disciplines –

  • Navigating with a toboggan
  • Avalanche control
  • Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC)
  • Riding
  • Lift Evacuation

So while you can become a member of the ski patrol, it is really the beginning of a journey of learning, helping and growing. It takes multiple seasons and training events to truly become confident and master some of the hardest skills that ski patrollers face. Most people enjoy it as part of the constant learning process.

More Requirements for Ski Patrol: The Ski Patrol Age Requirements

While it is surely exciting to become a ski patrol candidate, members need to be at least 15 years of age. Anyone under 18 also needs to be registered and classified as young adult with the national ski patrol.

If you are close to this age then the national ski patrol YAP program will be of interest. This young adult patroller program provides the educational base to start developing a lifetime in the ski patrol. There is nothing better then starting the training early and of course it helps if you are a very compentent rider by this age too.

The Perks and Benefits of Being Ski Patrol

Most people join ski patrol to help others but there are certainly some benefits of being in ski patrol. The perks include –

  • Ongoing learning and training
  • Being the first on the mountain and the last off
  • Helping others
  • Product deals for patrols
  • Working with great teams
  • Riding for free

Some patrollers that go the pro route also get paid. It just depends if you are a volunteer or pro. Most ski patrol are volunteers.

Group of ski patrollers.
Group of Ski Patrollers. Photo Credit: Eaglebookschool (Flickr CC)

One perk that is often overlooked is the quality of people in ski patrol. Since there is a baseline of knowledge and professionalism required for the job, you are generally working with all educated and smart individuals. If you want a quality group of people to spend your time with at the mountain, ride with and make great connections, ski patrol is the answer.

Final Thoughts on the Requirements for Ski Patrol

So will you take the challenge? Will you put your mind to it and become a ski patroller? If you have a love for the mountain then you’ll have no issues meeting the requirements for ski patrol. Sure, it is going to take time to learn the medical side and you’ll have a head start if you are already in the medical field but it’s something anyone can do.

If you are motivated to become a ski patroller, put your mind to it. It is seriously one of the best and most fulfilling gigs you will have ever had!

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