October 27, 2015

INTRODUCTION TO THE MT. SPOKANE SKI PATROL

Mt Spokane Patrol Lodge

The Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol (“MSSP”) is one of the largest all volunteer ski patrols in the nation. It is also one of the oldest patrols in the U.S., having been formed as a charter member of the National Ski Patrol (NSP) in 1938. Patrollers with the MSSP join over 28,000 NSP members serving over 600 ski resorts around the world. Our 140+ patrollers are a unique group of “good Samaritans” from all walks of life dedicated to helping others in need of emergency medical care. You can learn more about the National Ski Patrol at www.nsp.org.

Candidates seeking to join the MSSP must successfully complete a three-part training program:

  1. The Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) Classroom Training:  This is the first aid/emergency response aspect of a patroller’s training, and is a requirement for any member of the National Ski Patrol. The first half of the class starts in early April and meets every Monday and Thursday between 6 and 8:30 pm for 10 weeks (with additional homework).  The class breaks for the summer then resumes in mid September with 8 additional weeks of training that focuses on practical skills and hands-on scenarios.   The level of OEC training/certification is equivalent to EMT-B training/certification.
  2. The OEC “On-The-Hill” Training: This training is conducted on the mountain on Saturdays and Sunday from the time Mt. Spokane opens until the Candidate Class demonstrates proficiency, usually early January. In this part of the training Candidates take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to a wide variety of practical, real life situations on the hill. Here you will also learn Mountain Protocols.
  3. Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) Training: OET Training teaches candidates skiing and toboggan handling skills required to safely transport injured skiers. Candidates must have strong skiing skills and be in good physical condition to complete this part of the training, but even small-framed patrollers can handle toboggans safely with proper technique.

The MSSP roster consists of over 140 patrollers.  Each patroller is assigned to a duty shift (typically one day per week, or one night per week, or both weekend days on every other weekend).  Candidates who successfully complete training will join a duty shift for the remainder of the first season. At the end of the season, successful candidates will be voted onto the MSSP and become official members with full rights, benefits and privileges.  We are a very family friendly Patrol but the first year is a heavy commitment of time and energy.  After the first year, all patrollers must attend an annual medical refresher (one weekend in the fall) in addition to volunteering at least 16 hours at the Mt Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap, our primary fundraiser.

MORE INFORMATION?

On February 17, 2018 we had our annual recruiting event where we invited interested people up to spend a day skiing or boarding with us so that they could learn more about our patrol and we could also get a chance to meet them and take a look at their skiing or boarding abilities. This year we had a large turn-out and our OEC class is now underway.  With the size of this class we may now skip a year (2019) for recruiting depending on our staffing needs.  If you have any questions, please send an email to dyanusz@gmail.com and be sure to include your name and phone number.

As for the OEC class, this year’s spring section of our OEC class started up on March 28th 2018 and will run for about 11 weeks.  The classes meet every Monday and Thursday evening from 6 to 8:30PM. The Class time is usually 80% hands on activities.  Our textbook is the NSP “Outdoor Emergency Care 5th edition”.  For each class, chapters are assigned to be read and an on-line quiz to be completed for those chapters.  At the end of the Spring session a written test must be passed with at least an 80% that covers the OEC Book.  We then take the summer off and it starts back up in mid-September. The Fall session is comprised of taking all the skills we learned in the Spring and practicing scenarios using these skills and protocols.  There is also a NSP OEC practical skills and scenarios test at the end of this session that must be passed.  Then you are an official card carrying, NSP OEC technician.  Note that this Curriculum and the testing is standardized and controlled by the NSP.

Again, the first year is a huge time commitment and quite challenging at times. However, completing the program and earning a place on the MSSP will be life changing and lifelong friendships will likely be developed along the way!