Candidate Ski-off

A potential candidate must possess advanced ski/board skills. These are necessary because a patroller will be responsible for taking a patient down any run at Bear Valley in a sled. It is important that every patroller can competently and quickly reach an injured patient anywhere on the mountain, and then be able to transport them in a sled. Our first selection criteria are these ski/boarding skills. Ski/board instruction is not a part of our curriculum, although we can help you find resources to improve.

When evaluating potential candidates at the ski-off, we are looking for a solid foundation of ski/board skills. We also consider attitude and potential for improvement. We evaluate the riding skills while the candidate performs a series of small, medium, and large radius turns a variety of runs. We expect a candidate to be comfortable in moguls and off-piste conditions. Specific skills important for patrolling are fore/aft balance and edge control. We are not necessarily interested in perfect skills, but we expect candidates to be functional in most conditions and on most slopes. By the end of your training year, we want to be comfortable with the idea of you pulling a sled with our loved one in it!

If you are not sure you qualify this year, we encourage you to join us for the ski-off in December/January. If you don't yet qualify, we can give you some ideas on how to improve. Please fell free to stop by at the patrol shack at the summit and ask to ski with a patroller to see where we think your ability level falls relative to our minimum standard.

Outdoor Emergency Transport (OET) Training Season 1

After passing the Candidate Selection, the first thing you will learn is how to transport an injured skier or boarder to the first aid room in a sled. This training will begin after the ski-off in December/January with sessions every other weekend through March. During this first season, you will also learn opening and closing procedures, radio codes, protocols, run and location names, and a myriad of other basic patroller skills/knowledge.

In this first candidate season, there are approximately 12 mornings of OTH training listed above. The 12 afternoons and any other weekend you are free are spent skiing with patrollers to learn mountain procedures in on-the-hill (OTH) training.

Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) Training Fall Season 1

After passing the OET evaluation, you will learn emergency care during the fall in an OEC class. This class is very similar to the one for EMT1, but it is taught by National Ski Patrol instructors and focuses on emergency care in an outdoor winter environment. Typically, there are classes in the South Bay, Oakland, Sacramento, Tahoe, and a few other locations each summer/fall. There are typically students from several of the Sierra resorts in every OEC class. The OEC class is approximately 80-100 hours of classroom training with additional study outside of class.

On the Hill Training OEC Training Fall Season 2

After passing the OEC class evaluation, you are now competent to treat fake patients dressed in street clothes, who are on a rug inside a warm and dry classroom, according to generic protocols for most ski resorts. In December/January of your second season, you will learn to perform emergency care to specific Bear Valley protocols on patients dressed in ski/board clothing in an outdoor winter environment (cold/snow/rain). You will also need to complete a checklist demonstrating basic patroller knowledge before becoming a full patroller.

Most candidates will finish the OEC training on the snow sometime in January. In total, the candidate training program lasts from January to January of the following season.