My morning started out meeting with Jennifer Farness, the Manager of Patrol Services at Blue Mountain Resorts. Jennifer started working with Blue as a teenager in summer attractions, has been a lift operator and has also worked dispatch and patrol. Now as the Manager of Patrol Services she heads up a team of about 45 people whose mission everyday is "to ensure that Blue Mountain continues to be a safe, carefree environment in which to play and work". She is extremely proud of her team and quick to point out that earlier this season there was an incident that involved saving the life of a resort guest using a portable automated external defibrillator (AED). She said that the patrol team responded with textbook execution and the resort guest is recovering from what could have been a fatal heart attack. Blue Mountain currently has three AEDs on resort and as the ski population ages; it's definitely a good investment in technology. The daily life of a ski patroller is not usually that dramatic but certainly a very serious and necessary role to help ensure the safety of resort guests. The patrollers at Blue have a high rate of interactions and thankfully a very low incident rate.
The primary responsibilities of ski patrollers at Blue include:
- Monitoring trail conditions and on-hill behavior
- Rendering first aid and offering assistance
- Perform incident investigations
It's a serious job and with it come necessary qualifications.
When it was time to get my gear on and head out on the slopes Malin Vidler, retired from the military and a senior member of the patrol team took me on a few runs (he was kind of laughing at me because he said normally, he's usually slower down the hill than his younger counterparts and it was a rare occasion that he had to wait for someone else) and during our time on the chairlift we chatted about some of his team mates and what type person is perfect for this type of job:
- Jeremy has worked at blue as a patroller for 5 seasons and one of his favourite things about the job is working with an amazing team and he has really enjoyed the training programs provided by Blue. During the week Jeremy has his own business that he operates in Meaford.
- Brooke is a recent grad from GBSS and is using her position as a patroller to gain experience before she heads towards a career with the Canadian Coast Guard.
To find out more about being a ski patroller at Blue Mountain Resorts visit their website - but one of the best ways is to call them up and register for the Ski with a Patroller Program. Call 705.445.0231 x6606.
There's still lots of skiing left in the season, so now is a perfect time to check it out and get the qualifications you need over the summer.