Mountain Safety/Ski Patrol
Thunder Ridge Ski Area is proud to be a member of the National Ski Patrol (NSP). The National Ski Patrol was founded in 1938 and has followed its creed of “Service and Safety” ever since skiing became a popular sport in the United States. Today the organization is composed of more than 26,000 members who are either paid or volunteer their time working on behalf of ski areas nationwide to improve the overall snowsports experience for skiers and riders.
Our Core Values include:
A Little About US…
The Pahquioque Ski Patrol dates back to 1944 and is part of the Connecticut Region/Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol. We are a volunteer organization that serves the Thunder Ridge ski area. We have approximately 35 members and have room to add a few more patrollers. Our main responsibilities include providing our skiing and snowboarding guests with rescue and first aid services, and promote safety and courtesy on the ski hill.
Become a Ski Patroller
It usually takes a little over 7 months to become a basic alpine patroller if a candidate starts training with Outdoor Emergency Care in April. Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) is taught April through the end of December and additional training in ski /snowboard skill, toboggan handling, and ski lift evacuation training is done during the winter. Candidate testing is in late February.
A ski patrol candidate that successfully completes all the above training will be a Basic Alpine Patroller the following winter. Candidates may also join the patrol midseason during the winter and complete the on-the-hill training that season. The candidate that joins midseason must take OEC the next fall. They, likewise, will be patrollers at the start of the following winter. Patrollers are then required to attend annual training activities offered throughout the year.
Patrollers must attend one of two OEC refresher courses offered each fall; maintain their CPR for the Professional rescuer certification; and demonstrate their competence in skiing / snowboarding, toboggan handling, and ski lift evacuation.
Ski Patrol FAQs
What does a ski patroller do?
Our members provide the skiing public with rescue and first aid services and promote safety and courtesy in the sports of skiing and snowboarding. The patrol serves the owners of Thunder Ridge as a trained and skilled evacuation and rescue organization.
Do I have to be an expert skier/snowboarder to join?
Naturally, the patrol would like to have candidates with advanced ability. However, the patrol can offer additional snow sport training if you have strong basic or better skills to bring most candidates up to a proper ability level. This requires a greater commitment of time and desire from the candidate to complete the required training.
What are the requirements to become a ski patroller?
You must successfully complete the Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) course which provides a candidate with the medical knowledge necessary to treat injured skiers and boarders. Patrollers must also hold a current certification in CPR for the Professional Rescuer; complete on-the-hill training. There are two types of patrollers; junior patrollers (under 18 years of age) and regular patrollers (18 years old and older).
What is Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC)?
The National Ski Patrol Outdoor Emergency Care class follows the same standards set forth by the US Department of Transportation for EMT-B’s. This class is intended for prospective ski patrollers as well as outdoor enthusiasts. Subjects covered include an overview of human anatomy and physiology, patient assessment, soft and hard tissue injuries, environmental illness and injuries, sudden illnesses, triage, accident management and evacuation, and long term care. This class costs about $100 including text book and is offered by the Pahquioque ski patrol. Classes are held usually from April through the end of December. A valid OEC certification requires a CPR for the Professional Rescuer certification which is part of the course work provided.
What if I am already medically trained?
If you are certified as an EMT-A or B, paramedic, PA, RN or other medical professional we need your expertise. You must still qualify however as an Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) Technician regardless of your training and experience. You may challenge the OEC curriculum by successfully passing both a written exam and practical OEC scenarios. Emergency care as a patroller is significantly different from what you may be accustomed to in a modern medical facility as the ski patrol provides comprehensive, pre-hospital care in a remote, delayed response environment. Candidates of all levels must become accustomed to working with specialized ski patrol equipment, under NSP protocols and guidelines, and in difficult environmental conditions.
How much will being a patroller cost?
There is a onetime cost of the OEC course ($100) and one time registration fee to the National Ski patrol ($75). Annual local, regional and national dues are waived for active members completing a full commitment during the prior ski season. Other costs to be a patroller vary with the patroller’s desire for quality equipment and clothing and can be spread out over a couple of seasons. The patrol will help patrollers get the best quality at the lowest cost. Patrollers are expected to provide their own ski or snowboarding equipment and clothing. Other average expenses include a Patroller’s Jacket ($100-$235) and a fanny pack first aid kit ($29-$37).
Will I get paid for being a patroller?
No. The Pahquioque Ski Patrol is a volunteer organization.
Do ski patrollers receive free lift tickets or other benefits?
Pahquioque ski patrollers are entitled to complementary skiing at Thunder Ridge while training and after all of their training is completed, season passes are provided for them and their immediate family (after the first full year as a patroller). Complimentary lift tickets at other ski areas are not guaranteed, but are available many times when requested through the proper channels. There are some ski areas which give significant discounts to ski patrollers…there are others that do not.
How often do I patrol?
Patrollers determine what days they are available to patrol and with a few exceptions those are the days you will be scheduled. The number of required duty hours is roughly 2 shifts a week during the ski season.
The season’s patrol schedule is made up from information provided by each individual patroller. Patroller availability is usually taken at the annual OEC refresher in October.
When do you need patrollers?
During the winter season the ski area is open every day of the week with volunteer patrollers filling the following duty shifts:
5:30 p.m. – closing Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. – 1:00p.m. Saturday/Sunday mornings
1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Saturday/Sunday afternoons
5:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. Saturday evening
Who do I contact to join or for more information?