Powderhorn National Ski Patrol
National Ski Patrol Candidate Program at Powderhorn
Thank you for your interest in the National Ski Patrol at Powderhorn Resort! The Ski Patrol is a challenging and very rewarding endeavor that can truly make a difference. It combines a love for the outdoors, skiing, helping others, pride in a job well done, and making long-lasting friendships. Listed below are the required steps to join our Patrol.
If you are interested in becoming a candidate, you may contact us in a number of ways. You can fill out the information on our contact page and we will contact you, contact a patroller on the mountain, or just stop by one of our patrol huts while you are at Powderhorn. Let us get you started in a candidate program today!
The National Ski Patrol (NSP) Candidate Program
The candidate program consists of medical and toboggan training. The medical component involves an Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) class coupled with a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course. Toboggan training is completed at Powderhorn during the ski season. Each of these will be addressed below.
The first step in toboggan training involves passing a ski and ride check in what we patrollers call a “ski by.” We are looking for skiers, snowboarders, or tele-skiers that are stable and confident anywhere on our mountain. This assures us that a candidate has the requisite ski skills necessary to ski any type of terrain found at the Powderhorn ski area. We have a wide variety of terrain, and our conditions change dramatically throughout the year. We don't require pretty or expert skill levels, but we do expect competent, stable, safe skiing or riding.
The ski by will consist of two or more runs. On the first one we go through the basics: short radius turns, long radius turns, snowplowing, power-slides, herringbones, and so on. We will demonstrate each of these skills for you so you know what we are expecting to see. On the second run we will ski moguls, then do some kick-turns in a steep area. If you do well, please be prepared to spend the day with us as we begin to orient you to the mountain and duties associated with patrolling.
Candidates must display the patroller mind-set, consisting of such attitudes as a strong work ethic, compassion, camaraderie, commitment to individual patients and to the patrol, assumption of the roles and responsibilities of a patroller, and teamwork. We require an attitude that combines a positive outlook, a willingness to work, and a desire to help others.
Candidate training consists of 12 or more training days that usually begin in January. Candidates at this time must join the National Ski Patrol and pay a registration fee. Training will primarily consist of learning how to handle unloaded and loaded toboggans and, for those who have completed OEC, applying OEC skills in realistic settings. Candidates will spend time learning where everything is on the mountain, such as ski runs, location of toboggans, rope lines, closures signs, and the like. Candidates will learn knot-tying skills, how to put up fencing of different types, opening and sweep responsibilities, and other patroller tasks. We also encourage Candidates to come up on non-training weekends to shadow patrollers. Candidates can learn a great deal about the Ski Patrol by simply watching us in action.
Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC)
Learn how to care for injured or ill patients in a ski-area setting. Although this course is tailored to ski patrol situations and equipment, the skills learned can transfer to other in-door and out-door situations. We usually offer OEC training in the fall over a 10 week period. The course usually meets twice a week for four hours per session. The cost varies from year to year depending upon the cost of books and supplies necessary to run the course, but generally hovers around the $225-$250 range.
While we recommend candidates take the patrol-specific OEC course, some candidates may prefer to obtain other emergency care certification. Comparable certification, such as Wilderness First Responder, or greater training, such as that achieved at any level of Emergency Medical Technician may "challenge" the OEC. “Challenging” the OEC involves paying a testing fee and passing both the written and practical OEC tests. Candidates interested in this option should follow the direction of the head OEC trainer.
Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) Class
Candidates must attend and pass a certified CPR class. Tuition is approximately $25.
As mentioned above, you may contact us through any of the following:
(1) Use the contact link in this website and we will get in touch with you
(2) Talk with a patroller while at Powderhorn
(3) Visit us in one of our patrol huts while you are at Powderhorn. Our huts are located near the top of the Quad and the West End lifts.
We’ll look forward to talking with you soon!