TWO GREAT EVENTS – Register Now

CERTIFIED BOOT CAMP

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

For full information: https://www.patrollerschool.org/events/events/certified-boot-camp-2023-mt-bethel-pa-2/

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

OVERALL AGENDA

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

ENHANCED PATROLLER SCHOOL

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

For full information: https://www.patrollerschool.org/events/divi-home/certified-program/

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 

New Certified Chair Inspired by the Best Trainers

Certified Chair Bill Zink

My name is Bill Zink. I started patrolling in 1994 at Ski Roundtop, a little hill in the southwest section of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region of the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol. I received my rust and blue coat on February 13, 1995, from one of the best trainers, Gordie Bell.

The next night, in my rush to get out on the slope and patrol, I promised my wife Natalie I would be home by 8 pm on Valentine’s night to celebrate our new house. Somewhere around 7:30 pm, while riding the chairlift, I witnessed a high-speed collision of two skiers. They were both young men in high school. Once the dust settled, one boy lay on the ground unconscious, and the other was walking around in a dazed state.

I unloaded the chair, had the lift operator radio in the event and location, and made my way to the scene. Both patients survived. One was flown by helicopter to a nearby trauma center and the other went with ALS. I arrived home at midnight, February 14, 1995.

That day impacted my life in so many ways. It set me on a course of perpetual learning. I never wanted to be the guy that didn’t know what to do when the poop hits the fan. Fast forward to 2024 and I am now newly elected chair of the Eastern Division Certified Program. I currently patrol at Ski Whitetail, a Vail resort; Timberline Mountain in Davis, West Virginia (Southern Division); and as a part-time Pro at The Hermitage in southern Vermont. I love the sport of skiing. I love ski patrolling. And I love the friends that I have made in the industry.

I look forward to the next several years. I want to share the impact the industry and the Certified program has had on my life. The Journey to Certified is just that. A journey. It is a worthy journey no matter the outcome.

I am still married to the same woman as I was on that fateful Valentine’s night in 1995. While she can’t say she loves skiing and ski patrol as much as I do, she will say she does love the people and what it has meant to me and our life.

To learn more about our program, consider participating in one of our two summer/fall events, a “Summer Certified Boot Camp” scheduled for August 16-18 at Holiday Mountain Ski Area in Monticello, NY or an “Enhanced Patroller School” at Swain Resort the weekend of September 13-15th. Go to www.patrollerschool.org for registration details and information about these summer programs. See www.Nspeast.org/certified for details on the Certified Program.

The Certified Program: How it all began

Happy Summer fellow Ski Patrollers. As the new chair of the Eastern Division Certified Program, I am humbled by the outpouring of support our members offer the Eastern Division. I participated in my first ever Eastern Division Spring Officers Meeting. My job was to report to the ED leadership team our accomplishments.

As I prepped for the meeting, I started reviewing what our accomplishments were for the year. Then it struck me that maybe it was time to refresh our fellow patrollers on what the Certified Program is all about. Below is an excerpt from a letter from the National Director of the NSP in 1964 and the directive which created the Certified Program as we know it today.

In 1964, National Director Chuck Schobinger forwarded a committee report from the Southern Rocky Mountain Division to George Wesson, Jr. to work out the details for a ‘Certified’ program. The report read: “It is the desire of the paid patrolmen of the NSPS to continually strive for higher standards for all ski patrolmen. Hence, this Certified ski patrolmen program is instituted to give recognition to those who have devoted the extra time and effort to pursue a course of self-development beyond the minimum requirements of the senior ski patrolmen. This program is necessary for the NSPS to keep pace with the technological developments in the sport of skiing and to encourage ski patrolmen to better fulfill the ever-increasing demands and expectations of ski area management and the skiing public.”

The Eastern Division put together a committee of inspiring New England patrollers, which included George Wesson Jr., Rudy Carlson, Wayne Doss, Dexter Galusha, and Casey Rowley to work out the details and proficiency requirements for a pilot program. It would demand the highest level of proficiency from patrollers through training and testing and would promote a level of patrolling in which there would be no compromise with excellence in skiing, first aid, patrol management, administration, and leadership.

First Certified Test

Two years later, during the 1967-68 season, the pilot program was launched. Thirty-four candidate applications were received. Only eight were accepted. Seven candidates showed up at Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire for the first ‘Certified’ Ski and Toboggan Exam. PSPA was asked for their help in administering the exam to help give credibility to the program for the professionals. The courses were long and challenging using the most difficult terrain Wildcat had to offer. All seven candidates participating were successful and were invited to the first ‘Certified’ First Aid Exam to be held at Killington in April 1968.

The first aid problems were challenging and realistic, many taken from actual accident reports of some of the most unusual or difficult accident scenarios New England Ski Areas had seen. In some scenarios the actual patients were asked to ‘relive’ their accidents by replaying the roles of patients during the exam. In addition to first aid skills, the candidates would be expected to demonstrate a thorough understanding of patrol/management relationship and ski area operation knowledge.

Interviews were conducted for each candidate as if they were applying for a position of patrol leader at their mountain. In the early years of the program, the interviews were conducted by the actual owners and managers of the ski area. Questions concerning snowmaking and lifts, trail markings and grooming, staffing requirements and payroll, equipment needs and costs, mass casualty plans and risk management, legal and liability concerns, federal, state, and local laws and protocol would all be fair game. All seven candidates again passed this portion of the exam becoming the first NSPS ‘Certified’ Patrollers.

Today’s exam now consists of 10 modules (some modules have multiple components). The modules include Outdoor Emergency Care; Outdoor Emergency Transportation; Avalanche; Outdoor Risk Management; Lift Evacuation; and Low Angle Rescue. The exam takes three days to administer and is in March of each year. A successful candidate has three years to successfully pass all 10 modules. If not successful, you must start again.

To learn more about our program, consider participating in one of our two summer/fall events, a “Summer Certified Boot Camp” scheduled for August 16-18 at Holiday Mountain Ski Area in Monticello, NY or an “Enhanced Patroller School” at Swain Resort the weekend of September 13-15th.

Go to www.patrollerschool.org for registration details and information about these summer programs. See www.Nspeast.org/certified for details on the Certified Program. A special thanks to Peter Neefus for the history!

New Women’s Program Supervisor

Heather Newman, Women’s Supervisor

I would like to introduce myself, Heather Newman, as the next Women’s Advisor for the Eastern Division. I grew up skiing at a small (one T-bar, six runs) mountain in Northern Maine and started my patrol career in 2010. Since 2013, I have been a volunteer patroller at Saddleback in Rangeley, Maine. I am a Senior Patroller, an OEC Instructor, and an OET TE. Over the past six years, I have worked with the Maine Region as the Women’s Advisor and am very excited to take on my new role.

When asked why I enjoy teaching at Women’s-only events, I refer to comments the attendees made to me during and after the event: “I have never done that before; that was so cool,” “Thanks for taking us to the edge of our comfort zone with confidence,” “You believe I can, I believe I can,” and “Thank you and your friends for showing us women are strong patrollers.” I look forward to working all over the Eastern Division to bring more of those moments to the women of our patrol.

My family and I recently moved to Central Vermont and I look forward to skiing and getting to know patrols in the area.

Women in the Wild

The Genesee Valley Region hosted its first MTR (Mountain Travel and Rescue) Women’s Clinic, “Women in the Wild,” on June 2, 2024. An energetic group of 24 women from regions throughout New York State and New Jersey representing 10 different alpine and Nordic patrols attended and were able to refresh and/or be introduced to a combination of skills.

The participants utilized a combination of Patroller Moodle School lessons followed by a day of field exercises. We were blessed with pleasant weather while we explored the woods and trails at Harriett Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area overlooking beautiful Honeoye Lake in the Finger Lakes area of New York State.

These amazing ladies were introduced to nutrition as it pertains to outdoor travel and the increased caloric needs. In the field we put into practice our map and compass navigation skills while following a predetermined course as well as locating features off in the distance.

Outstanding teamwork contributed to efficient emergency fire-starting using multiple methods to create a spark and/or flame. Further along the trail emergency shelters were created and the group was able to view and discuss the multiple approaches to constructing a shelter.

A variety of natural resources combined with items from their 10 essentials were put into use. Great camaraderie allowed for new skill practice through teamwork and sharing of equipment and ideas as we traveled on a variety of terrain offered by the park.

Everyone then took some time amongst the trees for some forest bathing during a yoga session led by Kay Colner, ERYT-500, CIAYT. We wrapped up the day with a shared meal at Noble Sheperd Craft Brewery wishing happy travels to our new friends from throughout New York State and New Jersey. Special thanks to Eastern Division MTR Supervisor Joni Hamilton-Porter, Genesee Valley Region Women’s Program Advisor Pam Welch, and Eastern Division Patroller School Orest Ohar.

Please see the Eastern Division Calendar for other MTR and/or Women’s Program offerings https://www.nspeast.org/calendar.html

Annual AMN Instructor Refresher

Every Avalanche, Mountain Travel & Rescue, and Nordic/Backcountry Instructor must attend an Instructor Refresher every three years. These three programs work together to offer a combined Instructor Refresher annually. This year’s AMN Instructor Refresher is being held at Spring Mountain in Pennsylvania on September 14 & 15, 2024.

The program supervisors hold the AMN Instructor Refreshers in different regions every year so that hopefully one will be convenient for you to attend. Last year’s was at Gore Mountain in the ENY Region and the year before that was at Winding Trails in the CT Region.

Although attending an Instructor Refresher isn’t mandatory for Instructor-Candidates, this is a great opportunity for them to stay current and network. You might even find opportunities to do some mentored instructing during the upcoming season!

Of course, every patroller who is at all interested in becoming an instructor in one of these programs, or is simply interested in refreshing their Circle A or Circle M skills (you old-timers know what I’m talking about) is welcome to come on out.

Registration will be on Patroller School (www.patrollerschool.org) in mid-August.

How To Form a Bike Patrol in 10 Easy Steps

Interested in starting a bike patrol in your area? Here’s a list of 10 easy steps to get started.

  1. Determine what type of patrol your area needs and why.
    a. Resort- or park-based, public lands, multi-land manager systems,
    b. Paved routes, mountain bike trails, or some combination,
    c. Host unit or patrol unit or a hybrid of both.
  2. Meet with your region director, your region bike advisor, and possibly the National Bike Program advisor.
  3. Meet with the land manager(s) to discuss the agreement/memorandum of understanding.
  4. Consider liability issues (such as insurance, etc.).
  5. From a core group of interested bike patrol members, determine the initial leadership team.
  6. Complete the NSP patrol application.
  7. Get signatures (region director, division director, national).
  8. Write unit bylaws and unit member handbook.
  9. Create and/or fine tune the leadership structure.
  10. And finally, recruit and train members.

Reach out to your region advisor or to Tim Franz, the Eastern Division Bike Program Advisor if you have questions.

2024 Young Adult Patroller Summit

The Eastern Division Young Adult Patroller Summit was held March 8-11, 2024, at Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont with 78 young adults attending from around the division. Young adults converged for three days of intense training and competition. Mother Nature provided a bit of everything; moments of sun, rain, snow, and plenty of wind. Her indecisiveness was nothing compared to the energy and stoke from attendees!

Young adults looking to learn new skills or improve existing skills joined the Enhancement Track. And join they did! In large numbers! A love for learning echoed throughout all aspects of the weekend. The James Slattery Patroller Enhancement Award was awarded to a young adult who displayed a strong desire to grow their skills, has the ability to provide support to peers and their journey of learning, and demonstrated the ability to receive and incorporate feedback all with a positive and encouraging attitude.

Those young adults looking to showcase their skills and see how they ranked against their peers chose the Competition Track. The competition was tight with snow and weather conditions constantly changing. The level of skill was high as they demonstrated patroller skills in Outdoor Emergency Care, Patient Assessment, Outdoor Emergency Transportation, and Ski/Ride Skills.The weekend ended with a banquet full of awards, recognition of young adults accomplishments, a senior salute, and free swag!

Outdoor Emergency Care
1. Avery Laitala – Wachusett Mountain
2. Katherine Tedesco – Holimont Ski Area
3. Dillon Bhutani – Killington

Best Assessment
Avery Laitala – Wachusett Mountain

Outdoor Emergency Transportation
1. Cooper Biersbach – Holimont Ski Area
2. Hayden Larson – Wachusett Mountain
3. Gwenyth Gaiko – Killington

Ski/Ride Skills
1. Avery Laitala – Wachusett Mountain
2. Hayden Larson – Wachusett Mountain
3. Cooper Biersbach – Holimont Ski Area

Overall
1. Avery Laitala – Wachusett Mountain
2. Dillon Bhutani – Killington
3. Cooper Biersbach – Holimont Ski area

James Slattery Patroller Enhancement Award
Brayden Eckhart – Spring Mountain

Hans Hyson Award
Bram Shandler – Spring Mountain

Young adult must attend the division seminar but does not have to compete in any discipline. Young adult must possess an attitude that is in accordance with National Ski Patrol policies both on and off the hill. Young adult must be respectful of peers, other patrollers, as well as the public both on and off the hill. Young adult must be active at his/her home mountain, as well as involved with school and community functions. Award will be determined by Eastern Division Staff, along with the help of any individual deemed appropriate.

What’s Coming for the Bike Units?

The NSP Bike Program Committee has been hard at work for the past year on creating education programming for bike patrols.

What Are the Current Classes for Bike Patrols?

Bike Fundamentals Course  This course is for people considering joining a bike patrol or those who have just joined. It will help patrol members learn the fundamentals all bike patrollers and bike hosts need to effectively assist others while patrolling. Some of the topics include the types of units, duties and responsibilities of bike patrol units, and how to help others while you are patrolling. You’ll learn the different bike types, basics about extrication, some of the methods of transportation, and finally, by the end of this training you will be able to describe the responsibility of bike areas, venues, and land managers to their patrollers. It’s a brief course and fully online.

Bike 1 Course  This course is designed for the entry-level bike patroller or bike host. The content prepares patrollers and hosts for their potential duties and provides a broad knowledge base to start with and build upon with their patrol. Not all topics and information in this course will apply to every patrol or patroller; instead, it will provide a shared foundation for all patrollers or hosts working within the biking context. This course is hybrid; it contains an online course that comes first and then an in-person component.

What’s Coming Next?
Bike 2 Course  We’re starting on this one next. It will be for the seasoned bike patroller or host who is seeking to expend their knowledge and skills to advance their capabilities and improve their value to their patrol.

Instructors Needed!
We’re rolling out the Bike 1 course this summer. We’re looking for instructors in each region to get certified to teach Bike 1. For those attending Powderfall, there are several bike patrolling sessions at Powderfall this year, one of which comes from the Eastern Division. Come see us at the bike program sessions if you’re there.

Reach out to your region advisor or to Tim Franz, the Eastern Division Bike Program Advisor if you have questions.