7 Steps to Storing Ski Gear the Right Way During the Off-Season

Unless you’re still earning your turns in the high alpine, you’ve probably already put your skis to bed for the summer and dusted off the bike, paddle board, or maybe even golf clubs (hey, you do you—no judgment). Quick question before you move on to your summer endeavors: Did you store your ski gear properly?

Not to sound like your dad, but you really are doing yourself a favor by taking the time and going through a few extra steps before stashing your skis and boots for the off-season. Not only will proper storage save you time when the snow starts flying again and it’s time to gear up, but it will also help protect and extend the functional life of your expensive equipment.

Thank you to Ski Magazine for a great article.To read the complete and informative article Ski Magazine

Meet the First Winner of the James Slattery Award

Watch Western Appalachian Region YAP Advisor Anna Hermann as she interviews Hidden Valley Ski Patrol YAP Gracie Gonzalez about her experiences at last year’s 2023 Eastern Division YAP Summit held at Smugglers’ Notch. Gracie talked about what inspired her to become a patroller, what a wonderful learning experience the division YAP event was, and how it affected her growth as a young patroller and as a young adult. Gracie was the first YAP to receive the James Slattery Award. Read about Jim Slattery, the Division’s Oldest Junior, in the next issue of Trail Sweep.

Click the link for more information about the Eastern Division Young Adult Patroller program.

EMT CEUs for NSP Members

All members of NSP are OEC Technicians, but many are also EMTs. EMTs need to take their own refresher and a certain amount of approved continuing education.

Mike Klau of Blue Hills Ski Area has set up a rotation of monthly speakers that teach various subjects related to first aid. Each class is taught by Zoom and typically runs from 7-9 p.m. All classes are approved for two EMT CEUs for all levels. In the past some of the classes have been Boston MedFlight, Treating the Trans Patent, Post Covid Lungs, Ethical Dilemmas Facing First Responders, and many more. All classes are free but limited to members of NSP.

After each course a certificate is issued for your records or to be sent to your EMS training officer. Another bonus is that there is a spot on the NREMT webpage for NSP members who are EMTs. If you register there, your continuing education will be managed.

Lastly, every other year an EMT-B refresher class (NCCR) is offered. This course has a small fee, since the instructor is paid.

Disclaimer: The courses are designed for EMS personnel and do not always follow OEC techniques. Mike Klau does not make any money from this; it is purely a labor of love. If you would like more information, please reach out to Mike, his email is auxpatroller@gmail.com. If you are an EMT, please include your EMT number. Also please add where you patrol.

The Ultimate Ski Diet: How to Maintain Good Nutrition on the Trails

Skiing is a great way to get out and enjoy the winter weather. But it’s also a strenuous activity that can take a toll on your body if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s good to follow a ski diet that will help you stay fueled and energized throughout your day on the trails. This post will discuss some of the best ways to maintain good nutrition while skiing!

1. Consider your food intake.
2. Carbohydrates are important for skiing.
3. Protein is also a must for skiing.
4. Stay hydrated.
5. Avoid eating high-fat foods or drinking alcohol while skiing.
6. Make sure to take breaks during the day to eat and drink something.
7. Eating before you ski.
8. Eating after you ski.

This article was was written and published by Fasterskier.com. Rather than reprint the article in its entirety click on their link and it will bring you to it. They are a web-based publication, located in Williamstown, MA, bringing both the rigor of a daily newspaper and the passion of a niche magazine to their work. The magazine is geared towards Nordic skiing but good nutrition works well for any sport. Thank you to their President Matthew Voisin for allowing us to offer this information to everyone. The magazine has lots of great information on a myriad of subjects. Once you get to their website you’ll want to read more!

What’s Ahead…Calendar Reminders

The Eastern Division and the NSP offer a variety of events, programs, and opportunities for all patrollers. The following are calendar reminders of some of the opportunities available in the next few months. Click on the links for more details.

Gore, ENY – February 24-25

Begin March 13, 2024, at 7 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 872 9811 1272
If you have any questions, please contact Melinda Mingus, MD, Eastern Division Patroller Stress Awareness Advisor by email or phone 646-522-1451

The application and additional information can be found on the Women’s Program Scholarship page accepted through March 15, 2024

Smugglers’ Notch, VT – March 8-11, 2024

Sugarbush, VT – March 14-17, 2024

Vail. CO
APRIL 10 – 14, 2024
Register Now


Flexibility Exercises for Skiing

Staying injury-free throughout the ski season requires a proper stretching program. Here are some stretching exercises that doctors from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons believe to be a good general set of flexibility exercises for skiers of all ages.

Flexibility is a key component to preventing injury. Stretching before athletic activity helps prepare the muscles for exercise. Stretching after exercise has proven to be even more important for preventing injury. For maximum benefit, skiers should stretch each of the major lower body muscle groups before and after sporting activity. The exercises below provide options for stretching those large muscle groups.

Be sure to warm up before doing any of these stretches. Good examples of warm up activities are slowly running in place or walking briskly for a few minutes.

Athletes must do the exercises carefully, speed is not important. Never bounce a stretch. Bouncing can cause muscle strains and other injuries.

Forward Lunges
Kneel on the left leg, placing the right leg forward at a right angle. Lunge forward, keeping the back straight. Stretch should be felt on the left groin.

• Hold for five seconds.
• Repeat three to six times.
• Repeat on opposite leg.


Side Lunges
Stand with legs apart, bending the left knee while leaning toward the left. Keep the backstraight and the right leg straight.

• Hold for five seconds.
• Repeat three to six times.
• Repeat on opposite leg.


Stand with legs crossed, keeping the feet close together and the legs straight. Try to touch the toes.

• Hold for five seconds.
• Repeat three to six times.
• Repeat with the opposite leg.


Standing Quad Stretch
Stand supported by holding onto a wall or chair. Pull the foot behind to the buttocks. Try to keep knees close together.

• Hold for five seconds.
• Repeat three to six times.


Seat Straddle Lotus
Sit down, placing the soles of the feet together and drop the knees toward floor. Place the forearms on the inside of the knees and push the knees toward the ground. Lean forward from the hips.

• Hold for five seconds.
• Repeat three to six times.


Seat Side Straddle
Sit with legs spread, placing both hands on the same shin or ankle. Bring the chin toward the knee, keeping the leg straight.

• Hold for five seconds.
• Repeat three to six times.
• Repeat exercise on the opposite leg.


Seat Stretch
Sit with the legs together, feet flexed, and hands on the shins or ankles. Bring the chin toward the knees.

• Hold for five seconds.
• Repeat three to six times.


Knees to Chest
Lie on the back with knees bent. Grasp the tops of knees and bring them out toward the armpits, rocking gently

•  Hold for five seconds.
•  Repeat three to five times.

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted from the Pittsburgh Ski Club.

In Memoriam – Harlan “Sonny” Davis

We are heartbroken to announce the death of Harlan “Sonny” Davis, age 71 of Portland, Maine on Thursday, December 7, 2023. Sonny had a 45-year tenure at Pleasant Mountain and served 17 years as Ski Patrol Director. He served with the Navy Seals for six years before moving to Bridgton. After retiring from the mountain, he worked for McIver Electric where they were exceptionally supportive of him.

Sonny is predeceased by his daughter, Lindsay Davis. Sonny is survived by his partner MaryAnn Butts, son Scott and wife Stephanie, son Ryan and Stephanie Ross, as well as his grandchildren Taylor, Paige, Logan, Spencer, and Samantha.

Following is the eulogy Darryl Trafford delivered at Sonny’s service.

My name is Darryl Trafford, I have been a lifelong patroller and friend of Sonny. Our patrol was founded by Jimmy Jones, in Portland, Maine in 1936, as the “Forest City Ski Patrol.” At that time, it was the first ski patrol in Maine. In 1938, the patrol was moved to Pleasant Mountain and renamed the Pleasant Mountain Ski Patrol. Jimmy was confirmed as the patrol leader, a position he held through 1972. In 1972, Jimmy retired and Rolly Seavey was brought in as the new PD. Rolly had previously served as the patrol leader at Burnt Meadow Mountain in Brownfield. Rolly reached out and invited many members of that now-defunct patrol to join him.

In 1973 my mother and my older brother Danny joined the patrol. That same winter, my older sister Donna, and I were recruited for a new Junior Patroller program. Rolly had asked one of his new patrollers to start that program. That new guy was Sonny Davis. Two of his buddies that he had served with in Vietnam had just been discharged through Brunswick Naval Air station and were hired by Rolly. Sonny and I quickly hit it off, and since then, our friendship continued. At one point or another, Sonny had a hand in training or working with eight of us Traffords. If you include my mom, and my sons Jordan and Cam, my family has 128 years of service to the Pleasant Mountain Ski Patrol. That wouldn’t have happened without Sonny. All of us Traffords considered Sonny to be part of our family.

Sonny grew up as a military brat. While his father was stationed in Colorado, Sonny learned to ski at Arapahoe Basin. He talked a lot about skiing the snowfields, dropping off the west side cornice, and taking runs on Pallavicini, which was touted as the longest, steepest, widest, lift-served trail in the country. Many of you will remember seeing the trail map of A Basin hanging on the wall in the outer patrol room.

After we earned our senior rockers together in 1983, I treated myself to a trip to Colorado, to ski Arapahoe Basin, and took a few runs on Pallavicini. Yes, it was as badass as Sonny had claimed. The sign at the top of Pallavicini said “SKI IT IF YOU DARE.”

In the mid-80s, Pleasant Mountain freestyle legend Gregg Stump bought his first movie camera. He stopped in at the patrol shack and asked Sonny and me to take some runs with him on the east headwall. He wanted to practice tracking skiers with that new camera. When he later released his first ski movie, Sonny and I attended the premier at the Brunswick in OOB.

A question for some here. Does Danny or David Gyger, H3, Michael or Tom Bull, or any others that grew up hanging out at the patrol shack, recall getting hung up by your ski pants on the coat hook or having the top lift attendant stop the old blue chair so we could pelt you with snowballs? We worked hard at the mountain, but we always had time for fun.

In 1983, following a winter of training and clinicing, Sonny and I both earned our senior alpine designation from NSP thanks to a lot of nudging and support from Henry Hudson, and Tom and June Gyger.

In 1987, when I got married for the first time, Sonny stood up with me as my best man. He gave me a simple bit of advice ahead of the ceremony. Run! I should have listened to him.

The Pleasant Mountain Ski Patrol has always had a very strong presence on the Maine Region staff. As a result, we have ended up staffing and hosting many region and division events. Those have included Student Patrol clinics, OEC and Ski & Toboggan clinics, and OEC Senior Evaluations to name a few. Sonny was always in the middle of those events helping and cheering on our participating patrollers when he could.

Throughout the 80s and 90s we had an aggressive training program for both adults and students. We trained as many as 40 new patrollers in a year. At one point we counted 24 senior patrollers that were regularly working with candidates. That training incorporated a lot of Sonny’s concepts of keeping it fun and pushing ourselves. Who hasn’t seen us side slipping the crud line along the trail doing one-footed sideslips or even kick turns in the ice balls left by the groomer.

Through all of this, our student program kept going strong. Between 2004 and 2017, three of our students took first place overall at the Eastern Division Student Patrol event: Courtney, Matt, and Jordan. Many more achieved second and third place finishes. Emily and Morgan both won the prestigious Hans Hyson trophy for leadership. Sonny worked and celebrated with all of them. During all this fun, Sonny made time to coach the Lake Region Ski Team to a bunch of individual and team state championships.

In 2016, Sonny and I received our 40-year service awards from NSP together. In 2017, Sonny and I received the Distinguished Service Award from NSP together. In 2026 we would have been up for our 50-year service awards.

In Memoriam – Joseph A. Rao

Joseph A. Rao
August 19, 1929—April 18, 2023

Joseph A. Rao, 93, of Southington, formerly of Newington, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Tuesday, April 18, joining his beloved wife, Santina (Sandy) Morelli. He was a longtime member of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Newington, and more recently of St. Dominic Church in Southington. Born in Lowell, MA, on August 19, 1929, to the late Anthony and Lydia (Caruolo) Rao.

Joe spent his early childhood in Providence, RI, before the family moved to New Britain. There, his father opened a women’s clothing store, Anthony Rao’s, which became an iconic downtown retailer. He graduated from New Britain High School and went on to serve in the U.S. Army, 28th Infantry Division, in Germany during the Korean War. Joe attended the University of Connecticut and then earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Niagara University. He joined his father in business at Anthony Rao’s and was active in the New Britain Downtown District redevelopment and Chamber of Commerce.

He was a long-time member of Newington UNICO. It was at Anthony Rao’s that he met Sandy, the love of his life. Joe and Sandy raised their five children in Newington before moving in retirement to Southington. Joe was a member of the National Ski Patrol and was honored as Patroller of the Year while serving at Mount Southington for over a decade; he skied well into his 80s.

He grew up on ice-skates, taking his children often to Mill Pond. He taught all his grandchildren to ski, to skate, to fish, and to draw. Joe enjoyed fishing with his brother-in-law, Fuzzy Failla, and loved to share the fresh-caught bluefish or bass. From fish dinners, homemade pizza, clams, and fresh antipasto at Christmas, Joe lived his passion for food after learning to cook from his mother. He was in his element working at his son Christian’s restaurants in Wallingford and could often be found sampling the day’s specials. Joe’s greatest joy was spending time and giving attention to family and friends.

He leaves his five children, Laura Taricani and Michael of Southington, Maria Rao of Stratford, Anton Rao and Christina (Larson) of Cheshire, Christian Rao of Wallingford, and Daria Mondo and Scott of Southington; cousin Johnny, and Ginny Rao of Kensington; grandchildren and their spouses, Darren and Susan, Adria and Stephen, Brandon and Robyn, Samantha and Dan, Brynna, Michaela, Anthony, and Gabriella; and six great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother, Buddy Rao.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at the Church of the Holy Spirit (Annunciation Parish), 183 Church Street, Newington. He was laid to rest with military honors in St. Mary Cemetery, New Britain. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to the Franciscan Home Care & Hospice Care at www.franciscanhc.org.

In Memoriam – James “Jim” Chagnon

James “Jim” Chagnon
November 8, 1950—August  21, 2023

It is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of one of our former patrollers James “Jim” Chagnon of Southington, CT, who passed away on August 21, 2023, at his home. He patrolled at Mt. Southington in CT between 1970-1986, became a Senior Alpine Patroller in 1972, and served as a hill captain for the patrol.

Jim was employed by Medtronic as a well-respected software engineer for many years until his retirement. .Jim was an avid golfer and skier, and a diehard Red Sox fan, but his true joy was spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was a fixture at grandkids’ sporting events, school ceremonies, and parties. Jim was a selfless person who would treat anyone he met as if they were family. To say that he will be missed is an understatement.

Born November 8, 1950, in Meriden, he was the son of Margaret (Gutman) Murphy of Winter Haven, FL, and the late James R. Chagnon. He is survived by his children, Gregory Chagnon and wife Jill of Danvers, MA, and Marci Quinn of Manhasset, NY; five grandchildren, Connor, Evan, Bryce, Aidan, and Grace; and his sister, Sandra Burr of Nashville, TN. He was predeceased by his brother Charles Chagnon.

Services for Jim were held privately with his family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Jimmy Fund or the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.