Frequently asked questions about becoming a ski patroller.
Because it’s awesome! Most patrollers are first attracted to the ski patrol as a way to participate in a group skiing experience. The offer of FREE skiing in exchange for first aid services is important, and extensive first aid training equips patrollers for almost any situation they will ever encounter which requires fast and effective first aid intervention. The spirit of good fun exists within each area’s patrol, with great pride taken in a job well done. Skiers have learned to respect the Canadian Ski Patroller, whose presence at ski areas across Canada is at the invitation of the area operator.
In a nutshell, Patrollers make sure the hills are safe (in some cases this can mean avalanche prevention) and in the unfortunate event a ski area guest is injured, ski patrol (whether paid/professional or volunteer) attend to the injured guest. At the most basic level, the patroller’s job requires: correctly assessing the guest’s condition; providing first aid to stabilize the guest’s condition; and moving the guest quickly, securely, and as comfortably as possible to the resort’s emergency aid center.
How much first aid do I have to know?
None. We will teach you. Our 60 hour Advanced First Aid course, specializing in skiing accidents, is typically offered in the Fall and sometimes in the Spring as well. We are one of the finest First Aid organizations in North America, instructing First Aid, A.R., C.P.R., Oxygen Therapy, and accident site management. These are skills that are practical for you in everyday situations.
Does it cost anything to join the ski patrol?
Yes, there is a cost to joining the ski patrol. The fees paid by our members offset the cost of running a national organization and cover our liability insurance. Thankfully, the Gatineau Zone is incredibly active in the community and raises funds in order to greatly reduce the direct costs to our members. For more information, send us an email at email@example.com.
I already have first aid certification. Do I have to take the CSP Advanced First Aid (AFA) course?
Yes, our training is very specific and applies to providing services to ski areas. It is also important to learn our standard practices and procedures so that all patrollers can work together effectively. Our advanced training is ranked at a higher level than regular first-aid courses. We include CPR, Oxygen therapy, AED procedures, airway management and blood pressure technology. If you have a credited CPR course (HCP level) valid for the current ski year you don’t need to re-certify. Individuals with medical qualifications, or holding an advanced first aid certification from another organization, recognized by the Canadian Ski Patrol, may be permitted to complete the Advanced First Aid – Modified (AFA – Modified) course to become a regular member. This course is typically offered in the Gatineau Zone in the Fall and takes about 3 – 5 days to complete.
I’m a doctor, nurse, paramedic, wilderness first aider. Do I still have to take the course?
Individuals with medical qualifications, or holding a first aid certification from another organization, recognized by the CSP, must successfully complete the Advanced First Aid – Modified (AFA – Modified) course to become a regular member. It is important for every patroller to become familiar with our standard practices and procedures so that we call all work effectively together. Please specify the details of your credentials when prompted during the pre-registration process and select “medical professionals” course as your option. Typically, this course runs once a year in the Fall if there is sufficient enrolment.
I am a snowboarder/cross country/telemark skier. Can I be a patroller?
Yes. At our alpine areas we accept snowboarders, alpine skiers and telemark skiers. We also have patrols in Nordic ski areas.
What level of skier/snowboarder should I be?
You need to be a strong intermediate skier. Since you may ski or ride in all kinds of conditions under any circumstance you should be able to competently handle all of the runs on the mountain where you will patrol. You don’t need to be an expert, but you will need to be able to handle a toboggan, and meet the minimum rating set out by the local patrol at the particular area you wish to patrol. Your skiing level will improve dramatically just by the amount of time spent skiing with us. We will teach you how to handle a toboggan.
What is a toboggan?
This is our main means of transporting an injured person from the slopes/trails to the base of the ski area. It is an adult-sized device that looks like a sled with two handle bars that are held by the patroller in which the patient lies flat or in a position of comfort.
Is it hard to transport a patient in a toboggan?
No. We provide proper training and we teach you how to do it. With a little practice it will become something fun.
How old do I have to be to patrol?
You must be eighteen (18) years of age as of December 1st, of the current year to become a certified patroller.
How do I get my CSP Jacket and is there a cost involved?
You earn the right to wear a Canadian Ski Patrol jacket upon successful completion of the in-class certification AND the on-snow courses.
As a patroller, can I ski/board anywhere for free?
There is a visitation privilege offered to CSP members by many of the ski areas, after you have successfully completed your first aid and on-snow training. All visits must be approved by the host patrol leader, before your arrival at the area. This is further explained during your first aid course. We have a policy in the Gatineau Zone that new recruits can visit all the hills in the Zone.
What hills are in the Gatineau Zone?
Check out our list of hills and their patrol leaders. You can also drop them a line if you have questions.
I really want to patrol but I don’t own a car?
Although preferred, this is not always a big problem. You can likely find someone who lives in your area that is also scheduled at your hill and would be willing to car pool with you. Check with your resort’s patrol leader or assistant patrol leader and they should be able to assist you in making the connection you need for transportation.
Do I need to bilingual in French and English?
No. However, you need to speak at least one of Canada’s official languages, either French or English. Given the fact that many of our hills are located in the province of Québec and Ontario, you will most likely encounter unilingual individuals. Don’t worry, if you do not feel comfortable treating someone in a specific language, there is almost always another patroller who can help you out.
What is the sign up and training process?
The first step is to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us of your interest. We would then provide you with the information for the next available training course. You will then select which 60- hour advanced first aid course you wish to take. Courses are offered between September and December each year and often in the spring as well. The various courses will include weekday evenings and/or weekends.
What are the official colours of the Canadian Ski Patrol?
When the Canadian Ski Patrol first began, the uniform was Rainier red. In the 1980s, the official colours became yellow and blue. Then, in 2012, the Canadian Ski Patrol’s national board of directors initiated a brand review. By August 2013, they had shortened the name from Canadian Ski Patrol System to simply Canadian Ski Patrol, and launched a new image that included an updated logo. The look of this new logo is similar to the historic yellow cross on a blue maple leaf, but the leaf has been updated, strengthened and incorporated in a new red and white colour scheme. It’s a revitalized look that reflects a boldness, professionalism and can-do attitude; integral elements of the Canadian Ski Patrol now and into the future. You will still see the yellow and blue colours everywhere while the Canadian Ski Patrol goes through this transition. Our new red and white uniform will be rolled out by 2015.
What are some of the benefits of joining the Ski patrol?
Advanced first aid (AFA) training and certification
Amazing ski conditions
Camaraderie, many patrollers build lifelong relationships on the patrol
Area access privileges
Long list of pro-deal/CSP supplier discounts
Electronic monthly newsletter “5/5”
Legal supportInsurance coverage
Terrific skiing/snowboarding nationally
Personal development and a feeling of confidence in your abilities
The pride of being involved in your community and helping others
A good reason to get out and stay active (year-round)
A relationship with the local Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance
Access to cutting edge research
Ongoing professional development
A sense of belonging
A time of a lifetime!