HOLIDAY MOUNTAIN, NY – Friday, August 16 – Sunday, August 18

For full information:

Join us at Holiday Mountain Ski & Fun Park in Monticello, NY, for a gathering of like-minded Ski Patrollers in a rustic camping environment, all looking to learn about the Certified program and enhance or broaden their patroller skill set. The goal this season is “deep dive into lift evac.” The certified program modules that will be covered at this event will be:

  • Lift Evacuation
  • Outdoor Risk Management
  • Avalanche
  • Low Angle Rescue
  • OEC Assessment, Skill & MCI Scenarios


Boot Camp provides:

  • Friday — 4:00-6:00 pm – Arrival & Camp Set-up
  • Friday — 7:00 pm Meeting
  • Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday and Sunday
  • Saturday is BOOT CAMP training Day
  • Dinner Saturday Night
  • Bonfire — FUN


SWAIN MOUNTAIN, NY – Friday, September 13 – Sunday, September 15

For full information:

This event is low pressure — you can learn, have fun, and network  with other patrollers from all around the division. It is open to any currently registered member of NSP, candidate through Certified. It is a hands-on, get dirty, get bloody, play with different gear event. Typical included modules include:
  • Lift evacuation
  • Low angle rope rescue,
  • OEC assessment and skill building,
  • ORM discussions,
  • An MCI drill with outside EMS agencies.
Patroller School provides:
  • Great food all three days,
  • An easy-going, no pressure learning environment,
  • Looking at many different ways to meet an objective.
What you need to bring:
  • An open mind,
  • Gear that you would like to show off or work with,
  • Your first aid pack with gloves and supplies.
Rough agenda:
  • Friday — 1:00 pm – Arrival, registration, and camp set up
  • Friday — 3:00-6:00 pm – Knot tying and open topics
  • Friday evening — Fire pit discussion
  • Saturday — Module station rotations
  • Saturday evening — MCI discussions and planning and ifre pit discussions
  • Sunday — MCI drill and feedbac from multiple points of view 

In Memoriam – Florence ‘Floss’ Kirkner

Florence ‘Floss’ Kirkner

Florence A. Kirkner of Orchard Park, NY, passed away on May 1, 2024, at the age of 99. We all knew her as an inveterate volunteer, not just for NSP but on multiple levels as is shown by the awards she received from numerous organizations.

Floss joined the ski patrol in 1949 in the Far West Division where she served for 10 years. She was the co-patrol leader at Donner Ski Ranch, Soda Springs, CA from 1956-1960 and served as the first aid chair in the North Bay Region from 1950-1960. She was one of the first women in the NSP to take Monty Atwater’s Avalanche Patch course earning Patch #82. She felt the information contained in the Atwater Avalanche Patch course was so important that she began to teach other patrollers the basics of avalanche rescue at fall freshers.

She was a schoolteacher with curriculum development skills and along with other Atwater trained patrollers, began the development of a basic avalanche course to extend to all NSP patrollers. The basic course would become the NSP Circle A course and would be a steppingstone to the Atwater Avalanche Patch course which was more advanced and dangerous.

In around 1964 Floss took the Avalanche Instructor Course becoming National Avalanche Instructor #224. Having moved east she immediately became the Western New York Avalanche Advisor. For the next 36 years she maintained her certification teaching Circle A, Basic Avalanche, and Level 1 Avalanche. From 1999 through 2005 she was an Avalanche Instructor Trainer.

Floss tirelessly planned and conducted courses on ski slopes in New York State and on the Lake Erie sand dunes in Canada. Her innovation in using the dunes allowed courses to be taught at all times of year. The dunes proved remarkably well suited for probe lines and burial of simulated victims. She incorporated into her courses, dramatic films of various avalanche types, pre-course assignments, written training materials, and homework assignments. Probe lines were an integral part of her courses. In later years, she added transceiver work. Floss always included an optional overnight camping component for added learning and camaraderie among the patrollers taking the course who came from various patrols. Not only did this create a unity among the patrollers from the various ski areas but also a standardization of skills, such that these avalanche-trained patrollers could be called on to help if needed anywhere in a region or a division.

From 1976 through 1987, Florence Kirkner became involved with at the time a program called “Junior Patroller,” the program, now known as the “Young Alpine Patroller.” She understood that the future of the NSP was in recruitment of new members. A great source of new members could be found in the children of current members. The children would have most likely been at the ski area when their parent or parents were on duty, so why not create a program for these young people. As a schoolteacher it was only natural for her to get involved. She taught and helped develop 11 Division “Junior Seminars” and five National “Junior Seminars’ during her 11 years involved with the program.

Floss was very involved with her Town of Orchard Park, its YMCA, Girl Scouts of America, and the American Red Cross. She received a special award from the Canadian Ski Patrol, a Girl Scout Green Angel Award, a Volunteer of the Year from the YMCA, and a Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year from Orchard Park, NY.

Floss was the recipient of numerous awards from NSP including National Appointment #84, Distinguished Service and Meritorious Service Awards, three Yellow Merit Stars, a Purple Merit Star, and an Orange Merit Star for training military personnel. She was inducted into the NSP Hall of Fame and received proclamations from President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, United States Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congressman Langworth, and NYS Governor Kathy Hochul.

Floss was the beloved wife of the late Bruce F. Kirkner; dearest mother of Nancy L. Kirkner and the late Robin D. Kirkner; grandmother of Jessica (Jeff) Meadors, Jacob (Jamie) Hill, Sara (James) McCarty, and Traci (Ty) Douthirt; great-grandmother of 16 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service was held Saturday, May 11 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Orchard Park, NY. Memorials may be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, 6595 East Quaker St., Orchard Park, NY 14127 or to Kissing Bridge Ski Patrol, Rte. 240, Glenwood, NY 14069.

In Memoriam – Roger E. Hyndman

Roger E. Hyndman, 87, of Ballston Spa, New York, passed away February 7, 2024, in hospice care, surrounded by his loving family. Roger was born in Buffalo, New York, and was an artist. He was first a teacher and later employed by the State of New York, Department of Education, developing art curricula for public school students. He graduated from SUNY Buffalo, with a BS, and from Syracuse University with a Masters of Fine Arts.

Roger was a member of the National Ski Patrol for over 45 years. He started his patrolling career at Song Mountain in Central New York, and finished his patrol career at West Mountain, in Queensbury, New York. At West Mountain, Roger was a Patrol Director, received Patroller of the Year in 2017, and in later years was a fixture in the Aid Room. He loved working with Young Adult Patrollers. He was a dedicated patroller, a role model for everyone, and will greatly missed by his Patrol Family.

Roger was also an avid outdoorsman, fishing and hunting in the Adirondacks. He was always out on opening day of hunting season with his family. Roger was an Eagle Scout and Boy Scout leader for over 20 years.

Roger is survived by his wife of 66 years, Maureen (Gorman); their sons, Robert (Kathryn), John (Therese), and Thomas; daughter Mary Catherine Sullivan (Stuart); five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

In Memoriam – Richard G. Drew

Richard G. Drew, of Malta, New York, passed away suddenly on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at the age of 73. He had been a member of the Army National Guard, and was formerly employed by the State of New York, as an investigator for both the Department of Education and Department of State.

Rich was a dedicated patroller first at Labrador Mountain in Central New York, and then at West Mountain in Queensbury, New York, Killington Ski Area in Vermont, and finally at Gore Mountain, in North Creek, New York. He was a patroller for over 39 years, and was an OEC Instructor, OEC Instructor Trainer, OET Instructor, Lift Evacuation Advisor, and Elections Committee Chair for Eastern New York. He had National Appointment Number 11988. He was a lifetime member of the National Ski Patrol.

Rich was an avid outdoorsman, skiing, swimming, boating, and hiking. He loved the Adirondacks and even hiked Machu Picchu in Peru, in his retirement. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, he was an avid Bills fan. He is greatly missed by his Ski Patrol Family. He is survived by his son, Nathan Drew (Ann Dobert), two grandchildren, Henry Drew and Natalie Drew, and his longtime companion, Gigi Barrett.

A Conversation with National Board Chair Richard Pietrafesa

Rich Pietrafesa, NSP National Board Chair

Trail Sweep interviewed Richard Pietrafesa, newly elected chair of the NSP National Board about his experiences, aspirations, and goals for the NSP in his new role. Elected as a National Board Rep last year, Rich was a member of Toggenburg Ski Patrol for 20 years. When Toggenburg closed in 2021, Rich joined Labrador Mountain in the Central New York Region, Eastern Division in 2022. (Updated 5/3/24)

What experiences and skills do you bring to the NSP as National Board Chair?

Any number of us currently on the board could perform the job of chair. I don’t believe I bring any unique abilities to the role. But I do have a particular philosophy about how an effective board should function, and about the role of the chair, which I think is useful to our organization at this juncture.

Board leadership and executive leadership are two very different skills. The hard work for any board chair is managing board dynamics and human relations – providing leadership to a group of mostly senior, successful, action-oriented, performance-driven, sophisticated individuals from different backgrounds, as we have at the NSP. Different from a chief executive, restraint, patience, and being a good listener are essential attributes for the NSP board chair to possess. The role is not to be a commander, but rather a facilitator. A good board chair recognizes that he/she is not first among equals. He/she is just the person responsible for supporting the group to fulfill its collective responsibilities.

Having worked on many boards, I understand this role and these responsibilities. And I understand the need to support our CEO, Stephanie Cox, as she drives the organization forward.

At the same time, I think I offer the perspective of a regular, 22-year volunteer patroller who isn’t necessarily concerned with what goes on behind the scenes at the NSP – we just want it to work for us, the membership.

Why did you decide to run for the National Board Chair?

Like all of my colleagues on the board, I am deeply passionate about the mission of the National Ski Patrol and committed to serving its members. The past two years were focused on stabilizing the organization. I applaud my predecessor, Rick Boyce, for the hard-fought and important successes that he achieved during that period. We might not have the luxury of looking forward had it not been for his diligence, hard work, and quick decision-making.

But as we move into a new phase for the organization, I thought it was time for a fresh approach. I wanted to see the board turn its focus back on the membership and return to celebrating one another, and our collective successes. We need to find the resources to better support our programs, both existing and new. And we need to do a better job of letting the public know what we do, and the value we bring to the outdoor recreation industry.

I continue to be amazed at the time, skills, and dedication that members devote to our organization. It is very unusual! We need to trumpet that in the right ways so that we regain the public stature that we once held.

What are your short- and long-term goals?

I cannot promise any spectacular, unexpected outcomes. What I can promise is an open, honest, and trustworthy atmosphere for discussion and debate; strong support of our executive director as she executes her plan; respect for members and leadership in the field; and care and custody over the long-term welfare of this organization that we all care so much about.

Near term, we are focused on ways to make the NSP a more agile organization as we adapt to a rapidly changing industry. We have a project to streamline the P&Ps (Policies & Procedures) so that the office and patrols have more latitude to operate efficiently. We are examining our branding and exploring ways to strengthen and standardize that across all the divisions and regions to strengthen our national brand. I’d like the board to examine member benefits, with an eye toward generating enhancements for both initial recruitment and internal advancement, particularly with the Senior program. We are all using our career experience to analyze NSP’s revenue streams and brainstorm ways to expand them. Finally, we are taking a close look at the NSP store, filling member demands for more desirable merchandise while simultaneously rightsizing our financial commitment to that segment. Currently 1/3rd of our liquid capital is tied up in the NSP store. We can operate a store with much less and put that capital to better use earning revenue for us.

For the long term, we are discussing ways to broaden our membership by decoupling membership from credentials. Is there any reason why someone helped by the NSP couldn’t become a supporting member, with different benefits/privileges? Tiered membership is very common in organizations like ours as a way to support the mission. I’d like to see us take concrete steps toward creating a sizable endowment to help fund core programs and relieve pressure on member dues. And I believe the board should analyze and tackle the issue of member engagement – both in our programs and in our election – as a tool for recruitment, retention, and general member satisfaction.

What are your plans to improve the image of the NSP and its relationship with the NSAA?

Stephanie has built and maintains an excellent relationship with NSAA, and just as importantly, with its members. She is getting out and talking to both patrol directors and area managers around the country, understanding their needs and their issues. As a result, Stephanie is engaged in a number of collaborations with NSAA, both offensive and defensive (regulatory issues). Her efforts are increasing visibility and awareness of the important work done by ski patrollers, enhancing communication and collaboration between the two organizations, and actively seeking opportunities for joint initiatives and partnerships that benefit both parties and the skiing community as a whole.

What are your plans for clearer communication regarding the value of membership dues?

It is an unfortunate fact of life that dues need to continue to increase with inflation. While we are working hard to offset dues with sponsors and other ancillary income streams, membership remains our primary source of revenue. At the same time, we are very cognizant of the need to enhance member benefits as dues increase in order to deliver good value to members.

Stephanie has added some wonderful new member benefits this year – and – the savings from which could easily more than cover an individual’s annual dues. And of course we continue to offer new, valuable education courses to our membership free of charge, as part of our member benefits.

At the same time, beginning in July, everyone will start seeing transparent and comprehensive messaging that clearly outlines the benefits and services provided to NSP members, as well as the impact of dues on supporting the organization’s mission and programs.

What are your plans to reduce divisional infighting and restore the rapport among the divisions?

There is no infighting. I think the divisions maintain a wonderful rapport with one another. They continually collaborate, share best practices, and deliver programs to our membership as efficiently as possible. While there is always room for improvement, I think the divisions do a remarkable job with the resources they have at their disposal.

When I joined the board last year there was noticeable tension between the board and the divisions. I am working very hard to rebuild that critical trust. Trust is the single most critical building block underlying board effectiveness. Effecting positive change requires believing in each other’s good intentions.

At board meetings we’ve ended the microfocus on tweaking NSP’s governing documents. We agreed to put them away in a drawer this year so that we can look outward, back toward the men and women we represent – the dedicated volunteer and career patrollers who make this such an unusual organization.

Instead of rushing to get things done quickly, my emphasis is on getting things done properly. While sometimes frustrating, it makes sense to take our time with important decisions, gathering and considering input from all board members, and across our depth of leadership. Listening to people. I’ve learned in life that the best path to a durable outcome isn’t always a straight line.

That isn’t to suggest that we are dragging out decisions. Quite the contrary, better communication and the trust that comes with it has streamlined decision-making and strengthened relationships. I think the board and the division directors now again enjoy mutual trust and understanding in our shared mission. This has allowed us to better utilize our time together brainstorming as a group on important issues like long-term stability, revenue and membership growth, stronger branding, and product improvement.

How to Stay in Shape for Next Season

With the early end to this year’s ski season, now isn’t the time to be lazy. Staying in shape will help you avoid noodle legs once you’re able to get back on the mountain next season. Here are some moves you can do right at home to help maintain ski-season shape.

• Your quads are the first thing to burn out when you go skiing, so you’ll want to maintain your leg strength in the meantime. New to squats? • • Here’s how to do a basic air squat:
• Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
• Push your hips back and bend your knees like you are sitting into a chair.
• Keep going until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
• Keep your heels down and your knees behind your toes.
• Stand up and repeat.

Level up Squats
• Level up your squats by adding weights in each hand, or by doing squat jumps. Instead of just standing back up like an air squat, jump straight up, and then go back down into a squat.
• You can also try sumo squats. They are similar to air squats, but your feet are spread wider apart and your toes turned out. You can also • hold a dumbbell in your hands to make this more difficult.
• Aim for 3 – 4 sets of 20 squats.

Lunges are great for strong legs/glutes and better balance – something skiers in particular should focus on. Here’s how to do a basic walking lunge:
• Stand up straight with your feet together.
• Step one leg forward and bend down so that your front leg is at a 90º angle with the floor.
• Make sure to keep your upper body straight with your shoulders back.
• Stand back up and lunge with the other leg.

Level up Lunges
• You can add weight in each hand while doing your lunges for more benefit. You can also vary the workout by doing reverse lunges or try balance side lunges. Still want more? Try jumping lunges to add some balance practice and cardio to your routine.
• Aim for 4 – 5 sets of 10 lunges on each leg.

Planking is a great way to work on your core strength. You use your core muscles of your abs and lower back a lot while skiing, especially on more difficult terrain. Here’s how to do a basic plank:
• Start by laying on the floor on your stomach.
• Push up on your elbows and toes, with your body in a flat line.
• Do not let your hips dip or your shoulders scrunch.
• Hold the position.

Level up Planks
Try different variations of planking. This could be side planks, planks with a knee to elbow touch, or planks with hip dips.
Try to hold your plank for at least 45 seconds at a time, with a minute rest in between.

Cardio will help you keep your endurance up for a whole day back on the mountain without getting too exhausted. Get started with burpees:
• Start by putting your hands on the ground about shoulder-width apart.
• Jump your feet back to a pushup position.
• Lower your body down.
• Push your body up and jump your feet to your hands.
• Jump vertically with your hands above your head.

Skater hops are great for both cardio and balance:
• Starting on one side of your body, squat down slightly
• Jump to your opposite side, landing on your other foot.
• Use that foot to jump back to the starting position and land on the other foot.
• Try and jump as far and as fast as possible.
• For an extra cardio kick, try plyo ski hops. They are similar to skater hops in that it’s a lateral, weight-shifting move – similar to skiing!

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

In Memoriam – Earl Lewis Evans

Earl Lewis Evans passed away peacefully on August 29, 2023, at the age of 89. He was the son of Earl Anthony and Catherine (Parvis) Evans of Albany, NY. Earl was a graduate of Albany High School and attended Bucknell University. He was a veteran of the Korean War and received an honorable discharge.

Earl spent most of his career as the director of the Regional Emergency Medical Organization (REMO) and was instrumental in standardizing training programs for paramedics. During his 45-plus years as a paramedic, Earl volunteered for the Town of Colonie Emergency Medical Services, as well as managing the Knickerbocker (MVP) Arena EMS program.

Earl enjoyed the outdoors, especially hiking, camping, and skiing. He was a founding member and past president of the Out-of-Control Ski Club and worked as a ski patroller at Royal Mountain. Earl also was an avid N.Y. Giants and Mets fan.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judith Anne Robillard; his children, Christopher (Tricia) Evans of Guilderland, NY; Scott (Angela) Evans of Santa Fe, NM; Timothy (Yokasta) Evans-Lora of Brooklyn, NY; Shawn Evans of Colonie, NY; and Kelly (Lawrence) Evans of Stamford, CT; his grandchildren, Erika, Alexander, Marissa, Kaelynn and Dylan Evans, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Barbara (Evans) Currier; and brother-in-law, Gerald Currier.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in Earl’s memory may be made to the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany at or a charity of your choice.

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.