Becoming a Snow Bowl Patroller...
The Outdoor Emergency
(OEC) course usually starts the Sunday after the information meeting,
couple weeks into the Fall semester.
The OEC class is a basic emergency medicine curriculum produced by the
National Ski Patrol (NSP - see NSP site for more info on class).
Students are expected to purchase the
OEC textbook (or borrow one from current patrollers), attend all
Sunday of the Fall semester from 6:00p-9:00p, except on school
There is a midterm exam, with "practicals" (hands-on medical
skills tests). The midterm is not
a NSP test, but does count towards your candidacy for the Bowl
Patrol. There is a Final Exam in December,
consisting of the NSP written test (to receive your NSP OEC
Bowl Patrol written test (typically more challenging,
and more in-depth "practicals" tests.
Once school starts back up in the fall, there is a Patrol Information Meeting within the first couple of weeks. All of the current patrollers will come to introducethemselves, tell you a little bit about the candidate process, patrolling at the Bowl, and to answer questions.
The candidates who finish in the top 15 of the medical training are invited to continue their candidacy. There is a ski test, administered by Patrol Director Steve Paquette and all of the current patrollers, at the Snow Bowl, either just before Christmas Break or right after we get back from Break. Candidates are expected to be "solid" skiers (alpine or telemark) or snowboarders, under any conditions. The ski "test" consists of free-skiing several runs with the whole patrol and all of the candidates as one big group, then individual assessment on a cone obstacle course which ensures that candidates are very comfortable on their downhill tool of choice (i.e. sideslipping, kick turns, hockey stopping, snow plowing/pie stop, close-quarters maneuvering, sidestepping, etc). A final group of 7-10 "rookies" is chosen by the presidents, director, and entire patrol based on their medical performance, ski test performance, and any additional assets they may bring to the patrol experience. It is worth noting here that previous medical training (Wilderness First Responder - WFR, Emergency Medical Technician - EMT, or Wilderness EMT - WEMT) and certifications make a candidate an especially attractive candidate.The patrol also encourages rookie and veteran patrollers to pursue additional medical training like EMT/WEMT training after becoming patrollers. You can never know too much.
Those who do not make the medical cut are encouraged to pursue patrolling at other local mountains. With an NSP certification, one can work as a volunteer or part-time paid patroller at many local mountains. The Bowl Patrol will be more than willing to help you make connections at other mountains. You may take the NSP OEC class without having to take the Bowl written tests, if you are pursuing just your NSP cert and not a candidacy with the Bowl.
NSP and Bowl patrollers must also successfully complete a Healthcare Provider-level CPR class to validate their NSP OEC certs. Information about attending on-campus CPR class will be provided to OEC students.
If a candidate becomes a rookie Bowl patroller, he/she can expect to be on duty one weekday afternoon and one full weekend day every week, from J-Term (for rookies) through the end of the season (usually around Spring Break in mid-late March).
Midd Carnival Weekend (usually third weekend in Februrary) is a fun time for the patrol, especially for the rookies, who get to work all day every day from Friday through Sunday.