During the last several months the world has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ski community was not immune to this with the ski season ending months earlier than expected. When resorts closed ski patrollers lost their jobs all around the country.
This created opportunities for patrollers to continue to give back by donating supplies and ski goggles to Gogglesfordocs.com, as well as volunteering and working the frontlines. Many patrols worked with their areas to donate medical and first response supplies, particularly those – like N95 maks – that were in short supply in the early days of the pandemic. Many patrollers were able to share knowledge from their Outdoor Emergency Care training to volunteer in early efforts to both track the illness and volunteer in other services. John Engen, a patroller at Sunrise Park Resort has been a long-time volunteer with Tempe, Arizona’s Meals on Wheels program. “Now as an NSP Alumni member, I still deliver meals and have been assisting my follow volunteers in proper use of [protective gear], and following CDC guidelines,” he says. “My Outdoor Emergency Care training came in handy during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Other trained ski patrollers backed up paramedic crews so that they were prepared for the many stresses of the pandemic. This article from the Colorado Sun details how Eagle County Paramedic Services in Colorado decided to reach out to ski patrollers whose season was cut short. Patrollers also joined many in the ski industry in donating and collecting goggles for the Goggles for Docs program.
As they do on the hill every day, patrollers used their training and what was available to them to help make their communities and neighborhoods safer, and to use their training to respond to urgent situations. We hope next season will find them all back on the hill, but in the meantime, they will continue to provide needed skills and supplies where they can in the fight against COVID-19.