National Ski Patrol(NSP)is a volunteer organization involved in ski areas around the U.S. and also participates as medical first responders in other outdoor activities in some areas. NSP develops and maintain the Outdoor Emergency Care and other training programs, along with general safety protocols.
At Sunrise, the National patroller is required to complete 12 weekend/holiday days per season. Professional patrol and National patrol share nearly identical duties. The common duties and requirements are explained here. The primary purpose of National patrol is to assist the area's Professional patrol, specifically on weekends and holidays. The differences for Pro patrol are explained under the "Professional Patrol". Yearly dues and additional initial cost are described under below.
National Patrol consists of both on-hill (Alpine) and Base patrollers. All types of patrollers are required to take and pass the NSP Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) course and maintain current OEC and CPR certification. OEC competence is maintained by attending yearly refreshers. National on-hill (Alpine) patrollers are also required to take and pass NSP-structured toboggan training ("pulling sleds")for transporting injured patients off of the hill. After successfully completing this training, the National patroller is qualified to pull a sled on any run (green thru double-black).
The Base patroller is not trained to "pull sleds." Base patrol is explained in detail under the "Base Patrol" tab. Following OEC and CPR certification, an individual may choose to immediately work as an Base patroller, to enter a season of toboggan training, or enter the Professional program (depending on ski area needs at that time).
National patrollers receive skiing benefits (season passes) depending on the number of years of service. A National alpine patroller's first year is called a "candidate year." No compensation is provided following this year. If the candidate passes toboggan training, the next year is considered the first patrol year. Benefits start this year, but the details may vary depending on conditions and ski area needs.
More About On-Hill (Alpine) Patrol
The duties of on-hill patrollers (National and Pro) span a long day, from getting the mountain open in the morning to completing final sweep (ensuring all guests are off the mountain) at closing. Hence the slogan "We're first on and last off." During a good snow year, this often means "first tracks." On-hill patrollers are responsible for maintaining safety features of the hill such as fences, lift tower padding, slow signs and obstacle markers. They are also responsible for maintaining a presence on various runs to help assist guests and ensure that everyone skis or rides safely and under control. They may also observe lift loading and unloading areas to keep guest clear of the unloading ramp, and assist guests as required. In brief, we want to ensure our guests have a safe and fun skiing or riding experience.
When there is an accident on the hill, alpine patrollers have the responsibility to respond to the accident, ensuring that the scene is safe, assessing the patient (or patients) for immediate medical needs, addressing those needs and then safely transporting the patient from the accident site to one of the ski patrol stations at either the Sunrise base or Apache/Cyclone base. At these stations, base patrollers perform more detailed examination and first-aid treatment.
Other responsibilities of specially-certified patrollers include emergency lift evacuation and avalanche mitigation. These activities involve training above that for typical Alpine patrolling.
It Ain't All Work!
At various times during the day, we often take a run or two just to check out things on the hill. These can be early in the day, before guests arrive, or during busy times to make sure everyone is skiing or riding safely and within their skill level (in control).
These runs give us time to work on our own skills, or to find a quiet spot where we can cut loose with no crowds to worry about. When you're on the hill this much, you get lots of opportunity to develop yourself!