The National Ski Patrol is a member based organization dedicated to providing high quality training to ski patrol and other outdoor emergency rescue professionals.
The entire NSP organization is established to provide, monitor, and adapt this training for the needs of the various ski areas, and other outdoor recreation areas that utilize patrols.
The basic unit of the NSP is the Patroller. A patroller can be many things but basically plays a key role in providing a safe and happy experience to the customers of their outdoor recreation area. Only part of patroller training is provided by NSP. As an agent of the ski resort, a patroller is often required to have other training including lift evacuation, crowd control, facilities management, or any other program deemed necessary by the area. Each individual ski area is responsible for setting the guidelines, level of training, and rules of conduct that each patroller for that area follows.
Each patroller is assigned to a Patrol of a specific area. This patrol consists of a Patrol Director, and any number of members (some patrols have little as 6, some are well over 100 members strong). The ski area or recreation area has final authority on the appointing, hiring, or removal, of a Patrol Director, or any individual patroller within their patrol. The patrol is responsible for providing the services outlined by the area, but is also the key source for providing NSP training, and other training, to the individual patrollers of the resort.
The next level in the NSP organization is the Section. A section is a handful of neighboring patrols, allowing patrols from similar terrain, geographic region, etc. to share ideas and concerns about day-to-day patrol duties. The Section Chief is the NSP officer who is responsible for ensuring that the NSP training programs provided in the section are appropriate, and meet the standards of the NSP.
Several sections are combined into a single Region. The patrols and regional staff work together to ensure that each individual patroller has access to all of the NSP training programs, so that any patroller has the opportunity to complete the training required by their ski area. The Eastern PA Region has approx. 1,200 individual patrollers, divided into 24 patrols, within 4 sections.
The Eastern PA region falls within the Eastern Division. The Eastern Division consists of some 8,000 of the 27,000 registered patrollers in the entire National Ski Patrol system!
Visit the National Ski Patrol's Becoming a Member page to find out more background information.
Some ski resorts require different levels of skiing skills of member patrollers due to the degree of difficulty at their mountain. A ski patrol candidate will be expected to be able to ski the entire mountain with skill and confidence under any foreseeable ski conditions. This of course, means different things at different mountains. Many areas require a ski-off to determine your skiing ability. Most areas have this at the END of the previous ski season for the following year. For example, if you wish to apply for the upcoming ski season, the ski-off would be held in February 1998. You should contact the Patrol Director at the area you are interested in, to get specific information.
The first aid training is standardized throughout the National Ski Patrol. The NSP OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) course sets standards of training and skill evaluations for every patroller. You must complete this course, and pass a written and practical exam to qualify. This first aid course is very close to an EMT level course and is very rigorous.
Some Patrols have already started their OEC candidate training courses. If you expect to join a program for the upcoming season, NOW is the time to contact a Patrol Director.
Again, contact the Patrol Directors at each area to find out about specific qualifications and requirements each individual ski patrol is looking for.
Click here for a listing of ski patrols in the Eastern PA Region.
There may also be other requirements to joining a specific patrol which are dictated by ski area employee policies, insurance requirements, ski patrol policies, or other mitigating circumstances. Some insurance carriers require all employees of a ski area to be a certain age, other ski areas have a dress code/appearance policy. Many areas have non-smoking policies. You can see that while the National Ski Patrol is an organization with national standards, the requirements of specific ski areas results in a variety of individual patrols. Contact the Patrol Director of a specific ski area, to learn their exact requirements.
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