June Mountain staff is looking for locals who want to be volunteer ski patrollers. This Saturday, people who are interested in being on the June Mountain Ski Patrol are invited to ski with the patrollers to see if theyd like to help out.
On a busy Saturday at the ski hill, we spoke with Ski Patrol Director Eric Diem about the volunteer ski patrol program. A ski patrollers job is to provide a safe and fun mountain for visitors. To do so, patrollers provide first aid to injured skiers, do avalanche control, and maintain fences and signage.
Eric Diem explained that June Mountain has ten paid ski patrollers and 30-40 volunteers who fill in on weekends. Some of the volunteers are former professional ski patrollers who still want to help out. One volunteer I spoke to joined up after the September 11 attacks in order to use emergency medical skills to help out.
Some of the volunteers are doctors and nurses. One is a nuclear physicist, but they are all nationally certified as professional ski patrollers.
Ski Patrol is a busy job. We had to interrupt our interview when a young woman walked in complaining of an injured wrist. Still attached to the microphone we use to record for TV and radio, Diem assessed the injury, determined that the wrist did not appear broken, and gave the young lady a Ziploc bag to make an ice pack out of snow.
Minutes later Eric Diem dispatched ski patrollers to assist a young snowboarder who had fallen hard on his shoulder. The ski patrollers, at least one of whom was a volunteer, splinted the injury in the field then put the young man in the toboggan for the ride down the hill. The injured young man was taken inside and examined by a nurse, while the patrollers tracked down the young mans group leader.
The calls all appeared to come in at once. Seconds after the shoulder injury, ski patrollers responded to a young girl with a severe migraine. She was placed on oxygen and tobogganed down slopes as well.
Later another young man with a lower leg injury was lifted out of the sled and onto the stretcher to see the nurse.
Besides skiing fresh powder early in the morning, Diem says the perks of the job are really the good you can do for others. There’s nothing more rewarding than saving a persons life, he says.
I spent just a few hours with the June Mountain Ski patrollers, but I can tell you the job was clearly not easy, clearly important, and clearly fun.
If youre interested in becoming a volunteer ski patroller for June Mountain, the ski with a patrol day starts at 7:30 Saturday morning. Just show up at the lower ski patrol room, above the ticket office at the base of chair one. For more information call Steve Francisco 709 2265 or check out the website, juneskipatrol.com.