The ski season is well underway at all 21 Western Region ski areas. In many ways, patrolling in the Western Region is different than normal. Most importantly, due to safety concerns because of the pandemic, many patrollers have moved to the Temporarily Not Patrolling status. Patrols report losing up to 25% of their membership for the season. Some patrols are using active patrollers from other ski areas to assist with coverage.
For those who do patrol, this year looks different with COVID guidelines and procedures at each resort. Leading up to the start of the season, Western Region Patrol Directors/Reps attended Zoom meetings to obtain the latest information on the pandemic and to develop COVID safety plans to protect active patrollers and ski area guests. Thanks are owed to Western Region Staff, including Medical Advisor Dr. Mark Lindquist, Assistant Medical Advisor Dr. Bjorn Peterson, Legal Advisor Dave Olson, Assistant Region Director Jeannine Mogan and Outdoor Risk Management advisor Ken Liddell. Thanks also to newly elected National Board Rep Deb Endly. This team worked together to provide timely and needed information over the course of multiple Region Zoom meetings.
When vaccinations became available, Dr. Lindquist, Dr. Peterson and Dave Olson created guidelines and pathways for patrol director/reps to follow. This effort has led to most of the patrols either getting their first shots or heading in the right direction to obtain vaccinations.
When faced with not being able to hold in-person training or certification programs this season, Region staff got together and came up with some creative alternatives. Utilizing our Senior ski and toboggan staff, certified patrollers, and PSIA Level 3 instructors, videos have been added (with more to come) to the Western Region website demonstrating ski and toboggan handling skills. The region has purchased Coaches Eye and made this movement analysis tool available to current and potential senior candidates. Using Coaches Eye, patrollers submit videos of themselves performing senior skills. Once submitted, a member from our Senior training staff is assigned to mentor and coach the patroller by way of video.
Shown below is a frame from one of the videos demonstrating toboggan skills. Thanks to Matt Stordahl and David Anderson from the Welch Village Patrol for their participation. David, at the tail, is a Telemark skier – the videos show patrollers from multiple disciplines working together. Snowboard examples will be added soon.
The online additions consisting of demonstrations and senior candidate feedback are led by Senior Advisor Terrie Brandt and Assistant Region Director Craig Johnson, who is filming the videos and got Coaches Eye up and running for the region. While a work in process as content is being added and improved, we expect it to be not only a valued addition to the Senior Program this year, but also in the future. Check out: https://www.nspwr.org/programs/senior/senior.php
Be well, stay safe and enjoy patrolling in our great snow conditions!
Western Region Director