Meet the National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassadors

Chris Tota
Chris Tota
My Patrol career began 13 years ago in the Jr. Patroller Program (now called Young Adult Program) at Belleayre Mountain in Southern New York, when my mom walked me in to the patrol room and signed me up in order to “keep me busy” while the family was at the mountain on weekends. After my first day patrolling, I didn’t stop talking about it the entire three hour car ride home to Long Island! I was hooked. All I have wanted to do since that day is patrol. What started as my parents trying to “keep me busy” has evolved into almost every day of my life being busy with patrol business as a Patroller at Wachusett Mountain, an OET and OEC Instructor/Evaluator, and one of the staff members for the Eastern Division Young Adult Program. And I LOVE it!

I credit much of who am I as an adult and a teacher to my experiences in the Young Adult Program, and that is why it is my foremost passion in patrolling. Young Adult Patrollers are the future of the National Ski Patrol. They are our future Patrol Directors, Region Directors, and National Board Members. If you have never had the chance to work with the Young Adult Program, I hope you follow my posts this season as I travel the Eastern Division visiting Young Adult Programs to see some of the amazing work these kids are doing and that you can get involved with a local program near you. There is nothing like it!

When not patrolling, my wife Laura and I spend most of our free time outdoors fishing, kayaking, hiking, camping, hunting, and biking. When we got married just over two years ago, our first purchase was a 2017 Subaru Forester, and that vehicle has gotten us everywhere! Whether with kayaks on top, filled with fishing rods and gear, or driving into the woods with our camouflage on, we love our Subaru! I am so excited and honored to be given the opportunity to promote both Subaru and the National Ski Patrol as they adventure into the future!

Cody Burns
Cody Burns
My ski patrol experience began in a small, snowy little mountain town of June Lake, California. I started ski patrolling right after college after I realized I didn’t want to spend my life behind a desk. As I patrolled at June Mountain, I was encouraged by the patrol director, Eric Diem, to participate in testing through the Association of Professional Patrollers and become APP certified. After living in June Lake my whole life and patrolling at June Mountain for 6 years, I was ready for a big, new adventure, so I packed my bags and moved to Alaska in June of 2011.
I moved to Alaska with no job lined up, no place to live, with a cat and dog and a fully loaded truck. We had to camp out for the first couple months until things lined up. Luckily I got hired on Alyeska Patrol for the winter of 2011-2012, and it was a record breaking winter with over 980” of snow! The biggest adjustment of living in Alaska was the amount of darkness (the sun comes up at 10:30am and goes down at 3:30pm in the heart of winter). We don’t even open the ski area until 10:30am, and we close at 5:30pm , unless there is night skiing on the weekends and holidays.
After two years of being a paid, year round patroller, I became the Night Supervisor. During this time, I rarely ever saw the light of day. I came in at 1:00pm, and by that time it was almost getting dark, and I stayed till 9:30pm or later. After two years of being night supervisor, I was promoted to Assistant Patrol Director, which I have been doing for the last 3 years. I am one of a few patrollers that are paid full-time, year round. I love working at Alyeska because no day is ever the same.
Jason Tamulen
Jason Tamulen
I grew up in Westminster Massachusetts and I lived about 2 miles from Wachusett Mountain Ski Area. I started skiing when I was about 8 years old with the after school program with the Westminster Elementary School department. When I was 12 years old (1985), I would get out of school and walk to the ski area so I could go skiing. My parents were routinely not home when I would get home from school due to work. My mother at the time was a nurse and my father was an ironworker in Boston. I was a big fan of skiing, and especially of Glen Plake and his crazy mohawk hair cut. So I would get out of school and I had purchased a back pack that I could put all my ski stuff in and would walk to the Wachusett Ski Area to go skiing. By the time I would reach the big Wachusett sign at the bottom of Mile Hill Road, it just seemed to always be about the time that would be the shift change at the ski area from day skiing to night skiing at 4pm. After a short time of doing this after school one day a person stopped and asked, “Hey do you want a ride?” Now, as you can imagine this probably seemed a little unsafe, but things were not that way back then. Come to find out this ride would be the start of my ski patrol career and I would form a life long relationship with a close friend. The person who began to pick me up was none other than Gerry Hyson, Wachusett Mountain Ski Patroller and at the time Junior Ski Patrol advisor. Over the next couple years I began to work with the Junior patrollers, Gerry, his son Hans, his daughter Heather, and many others. When I became old enough to join the patrol I was fortunate enough to be selected to join the Junior Patrol. I absolutely loved the Junior Ski patrol I can say that the relationships formed during that time helped me to become the professional I am today. I can very confidently say that I have worked with some of the best people I have ever met over my entire life during these years. During my years as a Junior patroller I was awarded the Junior Patroller of the Year as well as won several awards during seminars at other mountains. During my patrol candidate year, I was awarded the Candidate of the year award by the Wachusett Mountain Ski Patrol. This year I also became a Senior patroller. Over the next two years I became an OEC instructor, and ski and toboggan instructor. In 1992 I became a certified Massachusetts Emergency medical technician and joined the Westminster Fire Department as a firefighter/EMT, and received Firefighter 1 and 2 training. With this I patrolled and worked in the first aid room as an EMT. The training and experience I received during this time was amazing.

I am super excited about the opportunity to be able to utilize our partnership with Subaru in recruiting, brand marketing, promoting and highlighting the amazing work that our patrollers do each and every day and how much WE appreciate our Subaru partnership by planning to have an amazing season of travel. Being an ambassador will surely allow me to showcase these partnerships and highlight and promote our work on various social media accounts throughout the season!!! Seriously cannot wait and am super excited for all that WE, NSP and Subaru, can accomplish!! Thank you very much for allowing me this opportunity!!

Jay Zedak
Jay Zedak
Jay Zedak joined the ski patrol in 1992 and like many others just loved being outside and skiing. Little did he know that he would have the opportunity to participate in leadership at a local, regional, divisional and national level. That leadership has been an opportunity for growth and learning. He first became an NSP instructor in Toboggan. Then Jay obtained his PSIA Certifications to have an impact on teaching patrollers to be better riders, skiers and toboggan handlers. When we say impact, we mean IMPACT! Jay has instructed literally thousands of patrollers from Alaska, to the upper peninsula of Michigan, from California to Vermont. Sometimes Jay’s extended family will ask how it is that he could possibly be traveling again and why in the world wouldn’t he fly. FLY? Rescue equipment, skis, clothes and written materials aren’t easy to fly with and then how would he get to the ski area? Jay’s preferred mode of transportation is the Subaru. Jay is thrilled to have been selected out of 400 applicants to be a Subaru ambassador.

Jay is married and his wife Dana, is a senior alpine patroller at the same area. They have raised two incredible sons Jason and Austin who benefited greatly from the “ski patrol brat status”. Dana looks forward to being a guest ambassador for Subaru as she leads the women’s program for the Ohio Region.

The 2018/2019 will be another great ski season and Jay will be making his way around the country, safely in the NSP Subaru with everything he needs to have the opportunity to impact thousands more patrollers as we enjoy the outdoors and respond to the emergency needs of customers. If you would like to have Jay visit your event with the NSP Subaru, just ask!

John Kane
John Kane
I started my patrolling career at Blue Hills Ski Patrol (BHSP) in Canton, MA in 1979. I started patrolling because it was a way to cut lines and ski for free. Little did I know about the “catch and NO release” that came with it. Before I knew it, I caught the bug. What I mean is that I got involved. I started at the BHSP as their Junior (YAP) Advisor. I became a Senior Patroller in 1983 and immediately became an S&T and OEC instructor. In 1984 I joined the famed EMARI S&T Staff traveling to other area resorts helping to train others. I became a Section Chief in 1987 and then served as the EMARI Region Director from 1988–1992.

My love is with the training of OET. When I retired from the RD position, I served on the Eastern Division S&T Steering Committee from 1993–2007. In 1995 I transferred to the Sunday River Ski Patrol in Maine. I was looking forward to gaining more experience at a larger resort so I could train for the Certified Program. In 2000 I entered into the “program” at Jay Peak, VT and successfully passed at Gore Mountain, NY in 2002. I thought that was it – nothing else to do. I could just simple enjoy my NSP successes and coast the rest of my patrol career. Well, that was short lived!

In 2006 I became the Central Section Chief for the Maine Region and then served as the Maine Region Director from 2008-2014. We had a great time delivering programs all over the state. It is absolutely true when they say “You can’t get theya from heya.” But we did it! The region now has a great instructor core of individuals and the team spirit is awesome! After terming out as the Region Director, I ran for the Eastern Division Director position and successfully won the confidence of our membership. In this position I am responsible for 15 Regions and 8,200 (+/-) patrollers. To get around the Eastern Division, Subaru of America has awarded me the opportunity to make all of these visits with the NSP Subaru. I have since visited 11 out of 15 regions at many patrols. I look forward to visiting the balance of the regions this 2018-19 season. The NSP Subaru has been a great asset to the Division in that it is available to qualified NSP patrollers who run events anywhere in the Division. Additionally, the Subaru(s) are busy in the off season working with organizations like the American Lung Association providing coverage as Safety and Gear (SAG) support to the biking participants. We also support local Fire events and FEMA events whenever possible. The NSP Subaru is not only a great looking car and an instant “looker” when coming on scene, but is used to promote Safety and Service when at events. Our most visible event in the Eastern Division is the Boston Ski and Ride Show. Thousands of snowsports enthusiasts from all over the Division come to the 4 day event where they see the NSP Subaru near center stage in high traffic lanes. The NSP Subaru gets lots of looks and pictures. So thanks to the NSP and Subaru of America for this continued partnership in helping us to spread our message of Safety and Service for all of our NSP Resorts, Patrollers and the skiing and riding public.

Marshal Thompson
Marshal Thompson
I have been on skis longer than I can remember. Fortunately for me both of my parents are avid skiers and our family skied together every weekend. No matter what the weather or skiing conditions, every Friday night my parents would pack up my brother, sister and myself and drive to our ski cottage in Ludlow Vermont. We made the full time move when I was 10. As I was growing up terrorizing the slopes of Okemo mountain getting chased by ski patrol, I thought they were so cool and I wanted to be one of them one day. After high school I moved to Stowe VT where I spent a few seasons making snow, grooming and riding as much as possible.

I finally made my way to Colorado in January of 2001, eventually settling in Crested Butte. When I moved to Crested Butte I spent all of my time skiing and running in the mountains. Knowing I wanted to ski patrol I obtained my EMT-Basic, unfortunately for me the Crested Butte ski patrol didn’t allow for patrollers to start on telemark skis and I wasn’t about to give up dropping a knee for ski patrol. Several years later I smartened up, locked my heals down and joined the Crested Butte Ski Patrol. I have been on the CBSP since 2013. I immediately fell in love with the Avalanche rescue dogs and spent time working with them learning about the dogs, training and what it would take to be a dog handler. In the spring of 2018 a chocolate lab named Skadi joined my life and we have been training daily to prepare her for the upcoming season. I look forward to a lifetime of adventures, Ski Patrolling, dog training and teaching my newborn son how to ski and safely explore the mountains.

Michelle Longstreth
Michelle Longstreth
My name is Michelle Longstreth. Originally from New Zealand, I moved to the Seattle area in 1993 after working for the Cardrona Ski Area in New Zealand as a lift operator. Working at Crystal Mountain started that first winter. Within a year I had made it onto the patrol, though I admit my skiing at that time was barely up to par for the tasks. A full-time pro patroller since the 1994 season, I have never looked back. I love the daily adventure, never knowing what will be thrown my way next.
I have my EMT, OEC, Avi1 & Avi2 along with my State & Federal Explosive license and have many days of avalanche control under my belt.
It is exciting to be part of the Subaru Ambassador program. Throughout my time at Crystal I have had the pleasure of owning several Subaru’s, starting with a 1978 wagon that served me well. I will be honored to drive one of the latest models; to share my experiences and tell what it means to be a member of NSP! It exists to help keep people safe, not just in the ski industry, but in all outdoor activities.
Nicholas Harper-Johnston
Nicholas Harper-Johnston
For me, being outdoors has always been a way of life. I moved around a bit as a kid but I spent most of my youth in Crested Butte, Colorado. There my love for skiing and the mountains was turned first into an obsession, and then into a way of life. I have a background in structure fire. I volunteered first in CB, and then in front range Colorado where I got my EMT and also began my patrolling career at Granby Ranch.
In 2015 I started working for the US Forest Service as a Wildland Firefighter. After going to a fire near Sandpoint I moved there and started working for Schweitzer Patrol in 2016. This past summer was my rookie season with the Idaho Panhandle Hotshots. It was quite the challenge and I am already excited for next year!
This past fall I married the love of my life and we went on a 6 week honeymoon around the West, staying in our new Subaru the whole time with our two dogs. It is a road trip machine.
Sarah Chappelle
Sarah Chappelle
This season will be my 7th season as a ski patroller. The first 5 seasons, I worked at a small southern PA resort called Whitetail Ski Resort. This will be my second season as a volunteer patroller at Loveland ski resort. Working in the ski industry has been a family activity for many years, starting with myself and my husband’s whole family(well almost) working as ski instructors at Whitetail ski resort. And when I say almost his whole family, I mean 7 of 8 kids and both parents. Needless to say, Chapelle is a well known name around Whitetail. So throughout my college career (at Shepherd University in WV) I worked as a ski instructor, but had always had an interest in becoming a ski patroller. So after I graduated with a Biology degree, I convinced my husband, Sean, (boyfriend at the time), his older brother, and one of his sisters to take the OEC class with me. Following that initial plunge, Sean’s parents both joined the mountain safety team and his mother would go on to also become a patroller.

In my 5 short years at Whitetail, I became a senior alpine patroller, and OEC instructor and an OET instructor. I love teaching the new generation of patrollers and sharing my love of helping others. My day job is a Certified Nursing Assistant, so the medical side of patrolling is something near and dear to my heart.
I am excited for this opportunity to share not only my love of ski patrol but my love of my Subaru with as many people as possible. Subaru encourages an active outdoor lifestyle, which fits perfectly with the mindset of ski patrollers. (Some may call us crazy….but sitting still does not come easy for us). I am stoked for an awesome ski season out here in Colorado and am looking forward to sharing the love of the outdoors with as many people as possible.

Andrew Warkentin
Andrew Warkentin
Hey, I am Drew Warkentin from Littleton, Colorado. I just finished my 11th year as a member of the Vail Ski Patrol and love every minute of it. My two favorite parts of patrolling are working my the Vail Avalanche Dogs as a dog handler for Mookie the Black Lab and spending time with the amazing family that is the VSP. When I am not patrolling, you will find me with a camera in my hands as I own a film production company, Big Mountain Creative. I spend the rest of my free time climbing mountains with my wife, Lauren, and dog, Tulo. As long as I am outside, I am a happy guy.