NSP & FirstNet Simplify New Subscriber Enrollment Process

Dick Woolf, Telecom Advisor

NSP and FirstNet have creates a new subscriber eligibility verification system to simplify enrollment for OEC certified patrollers.

When NSP rolled out its new partnership program with FirstNet in February 2020, it was decided to make patrol directors responsible for verifying the eligibility of patrollers who wished to apply for service. Each patrol director would be responsible for ensuring that new FirstNet subscribers had a valid OEC credential.

Over time, as patrol directors changed, it became difficult to send information about new subscriber applicants to the current patrol director, and in some cases, applicants were denied because the patrol director did not respond, or the wrong patrol officer was contacted.

As a result of NSP-FirstNet meetings held at and after Powderfall, a new process has been created to make it simpler for OEC-certified patrollers to apply for FirstNet service.

FirstNet has created an “affiliation code” which creates a special online form for patrollers to complete to apply for service. Once the patroller completes and submits the form, a request for verification of eligibility is sent automatically to NSP. Patrol directors no longer need to verify eligibility. NSP will verify the patroller’s OEC status and, if current, will approve the member for FirstNet service.

It is important for patrollers to keep their OEC certification current. Not only is it required to retain status as a patroller, but OEC must also remain current to continue to use FirstNet service.

The new NSP FirstNet affiliation code is NSPFIRST. Go to firstnet.com/signup and follow the instruction on the left side of the page: “Have an Affiliation or Association Code?”

Questions regarding the new process may be directed to telecom@nsp.org.

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!

Pack an Extra Patroller

Let see now. For my patrol pack, I have cravats, bandages, sling, tape, oh yes, and I want to put into that pack another patroller. Another patroller not only can help you at an accident scene but also acts as another witness to support the good work that we, as patrollers, perform every day during our volunteer activities. Having another patroller join you at an accident scene prevents the situation where it is the skier’s words against your words. Simply put, this reduces the legal risk for patrollers, the primary objective of the lawyers who volunteer their time for NSP.

In fact, besides giving quality care, the two things that we, as patrollers, can do to proactively reduce our legal risks associated with patrolling is to maintain the good image of the National Ski Patrol to the skiing public and handle accidents with another patroller. It is not always possible to be at an accident scene with another patroller but, when possible, such teamwork should be encouraged. The laws of most states generally go out of their way to try to protect patrol activities and protect you as patrollers; however, there is nothing to prevent you from also taking steps to protect yourselves.

Act in a kind and courteous manner to the skiing public. Handle accidents, when you can, with another patroller. Document, in writing, your accidents and use your best judgment. Taking these efforts will dramatically reduce the chance of you ever being sued as a patroller. Therefore, the next time you are laying out your pack to repack, see if you can stuff that other patroller inside. Besides being a friend, he or she will always be positive assistance to you at any accident scene.

Note: This is an old article being republished written by Bob Scarlett when he was a legal advisor to the NSP. He is no longer a legal advisor but is a current NSP Board member.

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

Celebration at Mount Snow

The First Ever Celebration Patroller and Alumni Celebration was held from February 11-16, 2024. A total of 32 people attended the event including active patrollers, alumni, partners, and family. Many who participated for more than one day stayed at the Grand Summit Hotel slopeside. Some participated for a day and others commuted. Mount Snow’s central location because of its central location. We had attendees from throughout the division.

We got the opportunity to tour the Summit Patrol station and meet some of the on-duty patrollers. On Monday we got together after dinner at the American Flatbread with a group of their patrollers and got to see their contributions of patrol equipment they have used to help decorate the restaurant including a very early transport sled.

The event was fortunate to have three special events, two planned and one last moment. On Tuesday evening, Scott Launt, a dedicated patroller who has been working with the 10th Mountain Division team talked about the growing relationship between our organizations and how NSP’s expertise in winter skills is helping the army build their skills.

Division Safety Supervisor Kathy Fitzpatrick and members of her team and the Critical Incident Stress Team led by Melinda Mingus joined us on Tuesday afternoon for discussion with both the general sliding public and our participants on Mountain Safety and Incident Stress Management.

Thanks to our CNY Alumni Advisor Scott Launt we had the new National Board Chair, Richard Pietrafesa, join us for dinner. Wendy Aarnio, a recent national board member, also joined us. We took the opportunity to have a conversation with them about the latest news from the national office. Getting more insight into headquarters operations was very well received and appreciated by all.

The weather treated us to four very good days on the snow with all areas open on the mountain. We received great service from all the Vail Corp people including the hotel staff, the restaurant team, and all the people on the mountain. We all agreed the event was a great start to what will now be an annual event in the division.

Many thanks to Alumnus Doug Reddy from Tussey Mountain in the Western Appalachia Region who is now on the Mt. Snow School Staff, for the incredible help making this event happen and to all the Division Alumni Advisors who added their thoughts and suggestions to make the week a success.

Notchview Nordic Ski Patrol 20th Anniversary

On Sunday, February 25, I was thrilled to be asked to perform as part of the 20th anniversary of the Notchview Nordic Ski Patrol in Windsor, MA. As a former Alpine and Nordic National Ski Patroller myself, this patrol has always had a special place in my heart because of the dedicated leadership it has had for 20 years with the founder and director Mary Ann Richardson. Her leadership, tenacity, vision, enthusiasm, and drive to ensure that the Notchview Nordic Ski Area has a thriving ski patrol to help ensure a safe experience for the skiing public has been inspiring.

Mary Ann has built up the patrol with its number of members as well as creating a Junior Patrol program for youngsters who have an interest in volunteering and skiing. Mary Ann has created partnerships with other patrols and emergency units to ensure the patrol has the resources and support to be an effective member of the emergency medical services network.

Congratulations Mary Ann on 20 years of service and excellence. We are all proud of you and thank you for your positive impact on the Nordic skiing experience at Notchview! #MaryAnnRichardsonTheBest #TopNordicPatrol #EnsuringSkierSafety #StrongLeadership Harry Rock The Trustees of Reservations Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol National Ski Patrol System Inc Northeast Nordic Skiers

Thoughts from CNY Region Meet & Greet

National Chair Richard Pietrafesa (red sweater) and Executive Direxctor Stephanie Cox talking with CNY members

The CNY Region held a “Meet and Greet” at Song Mountain on February 8, 2024, with NSP CEO Stephanie Cox and National Chair Richard Pietrafesa. Overall, Stephanie and Rich have a positive outlook about the past and future of NSP but also know we face the constant challenges of recruitment of new, and the retention of, patrollers. Stephanie spent well over three hours talking to our members about their current take on the direction we’re heading. She had one-on-one time with local members and discussed in detail what their thoughts and concerns are regarding this new route. Everyone in attendance at the meeting was impressed with Stephanie’s poise and clarity of vision for the National Ski Patrol.

During this meeting the CNY Region had a prime opportunity to recognize Dave Malone, a 50-year hero! Stephanie had the honor of presenting Dave his Eastern Division 50-year pin. A huge congratulations and thank you to Dave for his service and dedication as the legal advisor to the CNY Region for the last 40 years. Thank you to Rich and Tom Hughes for the coordination and great success of this event.

The following day Stephanie and Rich proceeded to Watertown, New York to meet with the 10th Mountain Division. Included were DD Cal Goldsmith and Division Historian John Beach along with First Sergeant Dan Fields (Light Fighter School 1SG and Watertown Ski Patroller) and Dave Martel (10th Mountain LNO and Watertown Ski Patrol Director). They had an office call with 10th Mountain Division’s top leaders Brigadier General Matt Braman (Deputy Commanding General, Support) and Command Sergeant Major Nema Mobar discussing the continued relationship and ongoing training between NSP and the 10th Mountain.

The culminating training event will be held in Colorado between 10th Mountain soldiers, the Colorado National Guard, and Eastern and Rocky Mountain Division patrollers. As part of 10th Mountain’s Legacy Day they will ski from Camp Hale to Vail Mountain. CNY patrollers have been critical in assisting the soldiers to be ready for this challenge. 

The Power of Connection

“The number one predictor of how someone will recover after a traumatic event is how safe they feel in their relationships.” – H. Hansman, Powder Days

In an earlier article for Trail Sweep (Don’t be Blindsided, Be Ready), I noted how my recovery from a significant stress injury was facilitated by a CIS debriefing and learning more about stress injury. But what I failed to note was that my “return to normal” was due in large part to the support of those around me, especially my ski patrol “family” at Camelback.

Years later, I can recall the scene in the aid room after returning from the helicopter landing zone. Patrollers all around offering hugs and high fives on my having spotted John in the woods on sweep. This was not my usual patrol night and these were not my usual night duty colleagues. I hardly knew some of them. Yet there they were, asking how I was doing, making sure I was OK. Of course, I wasn’t OK. But their kind words and actions certainly registered.

As word got out, my phone rang regularly with others wanting to know how I was faring. And when I signed in for my regular Saturday shift, I got more hugs and high 5s even from the most reserved (seemingly jaded), grizzled old veterans.
A year or so ago, I had the pleasure, as a member of the VT Peer Support Network, of leading a CIS defusing with a group of patrollers. All of them recounted similar experiences with their patrol family. One participant summed it up well: “I could feel the love.” Another echoed the sentiment.

We’re all connected!

Such strong bonds of connection to others are incredibly important for first responders, patrollers included. The literature is quite clear. The most important factor in determining the extent of stress injury—be it traumatic, depletion, or mission-related—is your level of social connectedness. Knowing that someone has your back, that you have people you can count on in time of need, and people who care about you, goes a very long way towards getting back to normal after traumatic event exposure. Indeed, perceiving and believing that people know you, care about you, and have a sense of how you doing is more important than the actual social support provided.

So, do whatever you can to reduce isolation. Make and maintain social connections. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones, friends, and colleagues can provide you with needed support, guidance, and acceptance in good and bad times. Support systems can play a vital role in resilience


Cal Goldsmith, Eastern Division Director

Stephanie Cox, the NSP’s CEO recently paid a visit to several Vermont and New York ski areas. Stephanie, National Chair Rich Pietrafesa, and I also traveled to Fort Drum, home of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army. During our time together, Stephanie and I had a chance to chat. I got to watch her interact with Eastern Division Patrollers. I was struck by how she is driven to make a difference, and that she has a plan to do so. Part of her plan is to re-establish the credibility of NSP in the ski industry, to the extent that it has suffered in recent years.

I would like to draw your attention to some of the first (and in my mind) most important steps Stephanie and our National Office staff have taken. They are listed on the NSP website under Governance, tucked off in the bottom right corner, and are entitled ‘Terms and Statements.’ They may be elsewhere as well. I urge you all to find and read them. With these brief, simple statements of position and principles, NSP sets out its values. Three of these statements I found particularly interesting:

  • Bullying and Harassment Statement which sets the tone and standards of our organization, including principles of respect, inclusivity, and safety in the NSP.
  • Statement of Intent on Well-Being establishes NSP’s commitment to supporting a culture of wellness, safety, and resilience for our members and those we serve, subtly making us aware/reminding us of these priorities.
  • The Environment Statement of Intent speaks to our reliance on the natural world and our responsibility to take greater responsibility to protect and care for places and the climate, which I think is critical for us to recognize.

Collectively, these statements seem to me to be reinforcing NSP’s integrity in the world, and our recognition of the high standards and awareness of our responsibilities as a great national organization of committed, dedicated public servants. But in my mind they also speak to our individual responsibilities to act in fairness with concern for our fellow patrollers and those we serve, and to put their welfare above our own individual welfare. That’s the essence of our service after all is said and done. And we are called by these statements to recognize how we can impact the lives of other patrollers, the public and the environment we recreate in.

I like that Stephanie is leading us to recognize our collective and individual responsibilities and that she is challenging us individually to sharpen our awareness and leadership. And I believe she reminds us that our integrity as individuals is the bedrock foundation for all of these critical goals.