SKI PATROL AT WORK
Written by Vivika Stamolis
What does a day-in-the-life of a Ski Patroller entail? We see them in red on the slopes every day, but we don’t see them at 5:00am in a massive storm conducting avalanche control work on Rockface. Ski Patrollers risk their lives to help save ours. They bring their passion, skill, determination and strength to Crystal Mountain in every way.
Powered by their love of skiing, Ski Patrollers are here to provide guests and employees with safe experiences. Here at Crystal Mountain, the local weather patterns hit hard, making an already-tough job even tougher. Our Snow Safety Director Mike Haft tells us, “What makes Crystal unique compared to other places is its location, the Pacific Northwest. It’s coastal, it’s the maritime snowpack. [It] makes for a lot of heavy snowfall.” Ski Patroller Jake Skeen says, “From our mountain’s perspective, that’s a lot of widespread avalanche control work.”
This year in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had an extremely high snowpack, which has made for excellent skiing in addition to high avalanche danger. Teamwork is key to getting through the season safely. As Ski Patroller Rich Starrett tells us, “It can be a very dangerous job, without a doubt, but we have each other’s backs. There is not a person here that I cannot count on.” They bring together their differences in age or gender to work as a family. Each and every moment requires their cohesion and communication. Ski Patrollers stay connected whether it’s by rope or by radio.
The team is geared up for all sorts of scenarios, and is always on the move. It’s a highly demanding job – physically and mentally. “You gotta be ready for anything,” Ski Patroller Forrest Baldwin tells us. “Anything from sluff slides… to medical scenarios, injuries… We’re in it all day.”
At the core of their work is the safety of everyone at Crystal Mountain. While that responsibility may intimidate most folks, Ski Patrollers are passionately motivated by this. They are brave leaders. “The reason that I’m here is to help people, and help keep them safe,” Ski Patroller Robin Pendery shares.
This behind-the-scenes footage with Ski Patrol shows a glimpse of the endless effort they put in to keeping us safe all season long. Next time you see a Ski Patroller on the mountain, say thank you for always having your back!
Produced by Steep Motion Films