Thursday, March 01, 2007

Profile: Ski Patrol

So what exactly is patrol out there doing all day? Well they're not just getting first tracks. The Powderhorn Ski Patrol are an amazing crew made up of 25 Pro and 27 National Patrollers. They are ready to go each morning by 8:00am. Their day begins with a morning meeting/briefing. One person will head up the mountain on a snowmobile and start the morning dispatch from the top. Other patrollers start checking fences around the base area, check sleds, check first aid supplies, and ski pack the mazes (lift lines) if needed. Then they load the lift.

Every patroller must check in once on top. They are given assignments based on what has been placed in the log book for the day. They spend time checking runs, sleds, tower pads, and overall scanning for hazards. They are also of course responding to any incidents all day.

A minimum of 2 patrollers are in the shacks at each time. There is one on dispatch and another available to respond to an event. These rotate all day. When 4:00 comes, patrol leads 'sweep.' This is when the entire mountain is skied and cleared to make sure no one is left out there. Everyone leaves from the top at the same time each with a run assignment. There are several checkpoints along the way. Once they arrive at the base area, they do a roll call and then debriefing. Everyone keeps their boots on through final meeting just in case of any last minute need.

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