Frequently Asked Questions: Ski Patrol

About NSP and Patrolling

Why become a patroller?

As a member of the National Ski Patrol, you will be part of a dynamic, respected group of individuals whose love for skiing, snowboarding, and all things fun in the snow is matched only by their commitment to helping others.  In addition to the Member Benefits that you will receive from NSP, there are numerous perks to patrolling. Camaraderie– Many relationships that are developed between members last a lifetime.  Some members consider fellow patrollers their family, and many have their family members join them on patrol. Mountain exclusives– Mountain High provides many perks that include: patroller and dependent season passes, guest comp tickets, and a delicious meal at the lodge. Different experiences daily– In the world of patrolling, every day is different and filled with a vast array of experiences that never get old. Powder days and first tracks– Part of being “First on. Last off.” includes being the first to carve through the freshest snow on the mountain.

What is National Ski Patrol?

Founded in 1938, the National Ski Patrol is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing first aid and rescue services to the outdoor recreation community and public.  Currently, there are over 28,000 NSP members in over 600 patrols across the U.S. and Europe They work to ensure the safety of nearly 12 million skiers and snowboarders each year.   Of those 28,000 members, over 70 percent of patrollers are volunteers.  Additionally, through the good work of the NSP and its members, each year nearly 40 lives are saved and 160,000 individuals receive free emergency care.

What do patrollers do?

Patrollers perform a wide variety of tasks and duties to keep area guests safe throughout the day. First On Patrollers check each trail every morning to mitigate potential hazards. Service Patrollers utilize OEC skills to provide on-hill care to guests and transport guests off the hill using sleds, snowmobiles, and other tools. Safety Patrollers address guests’ risks by placing signage, closing unsafe trails, performing avalanche control, and marking hazards. Last Off Patrollers sweep trails at closing to aid guests in getting down safely.

Who are patrollers?

Our patrollers come from all walks of life and experiences. They share a common bond, a desire to help others.  Mountain High incorporates different classes of patrollers. All volunteer patrollers have Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) training to assist injured or ill guests.   Below are some of the options.

  • Alpine Patrollers are OEC Technicians who are a downhill skiers or snowboarders. They treat and transport injured or ill guests.
  • Patrollers (Auxiliary Patrollers) are OEC Technicians that may, or may not, ski or snowboard and are not required to transport guests. They work in the ski patrol base (first aid) station.  They are on the receiving end of transported patients from the mountain and walk in guests.
  • Patrol Candidates – Candidates are NSP members actively working on the certification and skill necessary to achieve the patroller status.
  • National Ski Patrol: Different types of memberships within the NSP
  • Medical Associates – Medical Associates are volunteer physicians who are there to aid in/with Outdoor Emergency Care training activities and the general medical training for the patrollers. All Medical Associated are required to have the proper medical credentials.
  • Alumni Members – Alumni members are people who is no longer fully active ski patrollers, but they remain as members by paying their dues to the NSP and are therefore still eligible for member benefits and discounts. Some continue to participate in various activities including administrative and training.

Getting Started

How long does it take to become a patroller?

Candidates start on their skills book from their first day.  The skills book demonstrates knowledge of protocol, radio codes, knots, toboggan, and more.  Some candidates complete these tasks in one season, other candidates in two.  Each candidate works at their own pace.  Investing time at the resort shortens your path to patroller status.

There is a 15 week course to complete the Outdoor Emergency Care Technician (OEC Technician) certification that are typically offered in the Summer and Fall. Depending on demand, there may be a hybrid online/on-the-mountain version offered during the Winter.   All patrollers must have the certification complete to pass their candidacy.

EMTs, RNs, and MDs can bridge their medical licenses to become OEC Technicians in a 1 to 3 day bridge course.

How do I take the first step?

Stop by our first aid room at Mountain High West Resort on your next visit or fill in your contact information and we call you soon.

How do I register with NSP? Where do I find the Registration form?

Fill out, print this form, and submit to the NSP Patrol Representative, Scott Goodman. 
NSP Member Contact Information Form

Requirements and Benefits

What does it take to become a patroller at Mt. High if I have no medical background?

Outdoor Emergency Care is our minimum standard of care along with CPR and AED courses by American Heart Association or American Red Cross.  Courses usually take place in the summer and fall. These courses are engaging and interactive.  While some candidates arrive with OEC credentials, many of our candidates start by joining NSP, and  work along side our patrollers learning many on-the-hill skills prior to achieving their OEC credential.

I am an EMT, RN, PA, or MD. Can I use my medical license to become a patroller instead of OEC?

OEC is a required certification for all volunteers. NSP offers a 1 to 3 day bridge course to “bridge the gap” between your medical license / certification and the OEC standard of care.

Contact us and we can notify you of the next OEC Bridge course offering or checkout the Education Section of NSP.org website.

What are NSP Member Benefits?

Education, training, and certification Outdoor Emergency Care® is the NSP’s award-winning training program for patrollers and others in the recreation community who deal with emergency situations. This nationally recognized program is designed to help you manage the toughest emergencies, in all seasons. Developed in the late 1980s for the 26,000 members of the National Ski Patrol, Outdoor Emergency Care is a training program that is tailored to the nonurban rescuer. Over the years, OEC has evolved to address the needs of other outdoor-based emergency care providers too, including wilderness medical technicians, river rafting and mountaineering guides, members of search and rescue groups, mountain bike patrollers, and parks and recreation employees. Today, OEC is considered the standard of training for emergency care in the outdoor environment and is recognized by resorts and recreational facilities in all 50 states. Exclusive access to NSP’s Winter Catalog, Pro Deals Page, and Ski Patrol Magazine The catalog and pro deals page are offered to NSP members to help save them money on the latest equipment, gear, and products from over 50 NSP Official Sponsors.  Also, stay up to date in the world of patrolling via Ski Patrol Magazine, which is delivered to your door three times per year. Involvement in a 28,000 member community The NSP membership is a diverse group of individuals who all share NSP’s six core values of Excellence, Service, Camaraderie, Leadership, Integrity, and Responsiveness.

What is the equipment I need and how much does it cost?

Mountain High requires that patrollers wear an approved helmet and black pants.

It is recommended to purchase your own patrol vest and jacket, however, you can place a deposit down for a loaner based on availability.

The NSP Winter Catalog and Pro Deals with manufactures offers members discounts on all the winter clothing, uniforms, and equipment needed.

What are the costs to become a volunteer patroller?

Actual costs may vary by source, but here are some general costs: