We're A Different Breed

When it comes to being a ski patroller, there is no mold. There are however, some common traits that all patrollers share. National Ski Patrol members have a strong desire to help others, learn emergency care techniques, improve their skiing and snowboarding skills, and enhance the safety and enjoyment of snow sports for all.

Sound like you? Read on to learn how you can join our elite team.

First On, Last Off

National Ski Patrol members support their area management in preparing the mountain in the morning, rescuing and caring for injured guests throughout the day and making sure everyone gets down safely when the mountain closes. Sure it's a long, action-packed day, but there's nothing more rewarding than putting in a hard day's work while having a good time and making lifelong friends in the process.

The Process

There are three types of patrollers:
  1. Patroller
  2. A person who provides emergency care to injured or ill guests, but does not transport guests off the hill/slope. Patrollers also respond to base-area incidents
  3. Alpine Patroller
  4. A person who provides emergency care to injured or ill area guests, but also may be responsible for a wide variety of area safety activities. Alpine patrollers transport guests in rescue toboggans using alpine skiing (downhill) equipment.
  5. Nordic Patroller
  6. A person who provides emergency care to injured or ill area guests, but also may be responsible for a wide variety of area safety activities. Nordic patrollers transport guests in rescue toboggans using nordic skiing (cross country) equipment.
Prior to the season beginning, several courses are required: Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC), AED (auto. external defibrillator), and CPR for the Professional Rescuer. Together, these take about 90-120 hours. Courses are held throughout greater Southern CA area. OEC is the National Ski Patrol (NSP) course, but a certified MD, EMT, Nurse, or other health professionals can challenge the OEC course.

Aside from passing tests (e.g. skiiing/snowboarding, radio codes, etc.), the better part of your candidate season will be in toboggan training (for alpine & nordic candidates), and mountain procedures. There is also a brief mentoring program for to familiarize candidates with the area and patrol procedures.


Patrollers generally are required to work about 14 days per season, depending on the length of the season (generally late November to early April) and the number of patrollers on the team. Shifts for volunteers are Saturdays and Sundays. You can also work certain holidays (Presidents Day, Christmas week, Easter, etc). You are allowed to trade duty days so there is flexibility in your schedule.

In order to remain certified, all patrollers must complete refresher courses in CPR, AED, first aid (OEC), and on-the-hill procedures each year. The CPR/AED, OEC, and on-the-hill refresher takes place over 1 weekend (usually late in October) before the season starts.


Benefits include: working with some of the greatest individuals who share your enthusiasm for outdoor sports, pro deals (~40-50% off gear), ski passes, lots of good skiing, social activities, and satisfaction in helping. There is also continuing education available in avalanche, mountain survival, senior level skiing/tobogganing and first aid, etc.

You also have the opportunity to become a patrol instructor (first aid, CPR, toboggan, avalanche, etc.) or get involved in other ways with the running of the patrol (board member, patrol director, officer, event planner, etc.). You get out of it what you put in. Many of the patrollers have 20+ years of seniority and they're always willing to help.

Ready To Join?