For some, it’s a vocation, but for others, it’s a vacation. We’re talking about the Huff Hills Ski Patrol.
Whether you’re sledding or shredding, there’s plenty to see out at Huff Hills. But it takes a little more than just loving the snow to be on the ski patrol.
The Huff Hills Ski Patrol is a non-profit organization that is solely run on a volunteer basis. They’re affiliated with the Northern Division of the National Ski Patrol.
Shawn Iverson, a member of the Ski Patrol says, “We have a director, we have a vice president, treasurer, secretary. We have meetings once a month.”
He’s been with the team for 11 years and serves as a leader among 40 other volunteers. The Huff Hills Ski Patrol has been around for about 25 years and has a wall full of awards demonstrating their passion for people and the powder.
More recently, the Ski Patrol won an award for Outstanding Patrol in the Northern Division of National Ski Patrols.
Jill Weise, an EMT on the Ski Patrol says, “We’re really needed out here. I am a nurse and an EMT. We are necessary.”
From school groups to people young and old learning to ski or snowboard, medical emergencies do happen and the ski patrol is there to help.
Weise says, “We are busy. We have a lot of emergencies. We might have a heart attack. We might have a diabetic, a broken leg, lots of knee injuries, lots of broken wrists.”
But it takes a lot more than the love of skiing and snow to patrol these hills.
Kurt Weinberg, another Ski Patrol member says, “It’s about 100 hours of classroom work. We’re doing a kind of hybrid online and face-to-face instruction.”
As well as hands-on skills assessment training with different scenarios and getting people down the hill if they’re injured.
Weinberg says, “You might have to demonstrate some skills like using airways, showing how to put oxygen tanks together.”
Between emergencies, wilderness, and outdoor emergency care training, lift evacuations, and CPR — the ski patrol is able to handle all the elements.
Iverson says, “So when we have an injured patient in here, we’ll do a lot of communication between the person who handles and the person between the tail rope and of course the injured patient within the sled as well.”
Erik Jordan, Ski Patrol member-in-training says, “I was a volunteer EMT a number of years ago and this is a really good reason to get out. I love skiing. It’s nice to volunteer in a medical aspect.”
From hours of training, riding the ski lift up the peak to enjoying the fresh air, spending time with friends and family — the Huff Hills Ski Patrol is ready for anything.
Iverson says Huff Hills is open until there’s no snow left and with the nice weather it may not be much longer.