After a long winter and snow sliding season, there’s a tendency to just drop everything after that last day and last run. The season is over (unfortunately). As a ski patroller, the end of season means I have double duty – dealing with both my own ski equipment and end of season patrol duties.
Take It Out & Dry It Out
I carry a large ski bag (that is a hockey bag). It contains 2 pairs of gloves, several mid-layers, 2 ski pants, boots, helmet, etc. Quite simply, it’s time to pull everything out and clean it or wash it.
On the patrol side, rescue toboggans need to be taken apart. Chances are the toboggan has snow or water in it. The lining, blankets, cardboard (for splints) will get moldy if left wet. And if the toboggan is left packed, it could also become a mouse hotel.
End of Season Inventory
By taking a closer look at equipment, you can easily see what needs fixing or replacing. Are gloves worn out? Are goggles clear and not scratched? Now is the time to make note of what is needed for next year.
Patrol supplies are probably low so now is the time to take an inventory and make a list of first aid supplies needed along with any other missing or broken equipment. It’s nice (and makes a lot of sense) to do equipment repairs or patrol hut fix-ups in warm weather.
Re-Pack Your Gear
After my bag clean out is done and things are dried and cleaned, it all goes back in my open bag (so it doesn’t go missing). If I need to replace something, now is the time to grab an end of season sale (or pre-season sale next fall).
The same applies for patrol gear. Time to re-stock and re-pack gear along with notes for new supplies and anything to be replaced. A lot of time is spent training in the fall and cleaning facilities. It’s nice to have the actual equipment and bags already packed and ready to go. Opening day for next season could be called with just a few days’ notice.
Get Ready for Next Season
The off-season is still a busy time for the ski patrol. Planning begins almost immediately with training calendars, first aid updates, recruitment and other important areas to work through for next season. With our experience with athletic injuries and our mobility, some patrols will provide first aid services for non-skiing events. Within a few months, training, testing and annual recertification starts again.
It’s great to have goals and plans in life, including skiing and snowboarding. What’s the early plan for next season? A new major purchase of boots and or a board? Again, end of season sales are on. You can also take some time to research equipment and look for new equipment in early fall. Is a big trip in your plans? Time to start saving and getting your ski friends together and agree on the destination – Whistler, Aspen or Europe?
It may be the end of season but who isn’t looking forward to next season?
As a fellow ski patroller, I enjoyed reading your article. It is very true. Being a patroller is almost a year around job. And in Michigan alot of our patrol’s are volunteers like mine. So we also have paying jobs along with patrolling. Makes for a busy year for sure. But would not give it up for anything. Thanks David
Hi Mark, Now that I’ve retired from business I have an interest of becoming a ski resort instructor again. Having been an instructor for one of the major Vermont ski resorts a few decades ago I would really appreciate your thoughts and input how best to approach this “wanna be” dream.
Hey Jim – I know a lot of instructors and my advice would be talk to resort management. Kind of obvious but they are always looking for keen and reliable instructors. You need to get instructor certified as well. You can get and do this “wanna be” dream – good luck!