What Is Nordic Ski Patrol?
Jeff Schmidt, Nordic Advisor, Central Division, National
Adapted for this site by Jim Meloche
Founded in 1938 by "Minnie" Dole, the National Ski
Patrol System (NSPS) has developed at the same rapid pace as the
ski industry in America. Today, Nordic patrols are an integral
part of the 25,000 member NSPS serving the skiing public.
Our objective is to provide ski areas and organized tours with
trained volunteers capable of performing services to help make
these facilities and tours safer and more enjoyable for skiers.
NSPS patrollers provide their services with skill, diplomacy and
Can You Qualify?
- Do you enjoy being challenged by a variety of ski
conditions and situations? Would you like the opportunity
to share that challenge with others?
- Do you want to sharpen your skiing and first aid skills?
Would you like to use those skills to make cross country
skiing safer and more enjoyable?
- Do you enjoy working with the public and helping people?
Can you remain calm and function well in an emergency
- Do you have the time to commit yourself to a schedule of
patrolling duties during the ski season?
To become a Nordic Patroller with the NSPS you must:
- Be at least 15 years of age
- Have passed the current Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC)
course as administered by the National Ski Patrol
- Have a current ARC or American Heart Association
Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) card
- Have at least intermediate skiing ability
- Submit application to and be accepted by a NSPS patrol.
You may contact the patrol of your choice listed on Where Are The Nordic Patrols And How
Do I Join page for an application and further
- Pay necessary NSPS dues which include the cost of
training manuals and newsletters
- Have a proper attitude for helping other skiers
- By the beginning of the second year, assemble a patrol
pack with basic first-aid, survival and equipment-repair
Many men and women have joined the NSPS to take advantage of
the high level of training available to patrollers. Nationally
standardized training programs have been specifically developed
for the NSPS by field experts and are taught by certified
instructors. Some of the training is required, while other
programs are elective and serve to move the student through
various levels of skill.
Minimum training requirements:
- Each year in the fall, you must take a First Aid
Refresher for a minimum of 8 hours to review your
first aid skills. This refresher renews your OEC card for
the current season.
- Each year in the fall, you must take a CPR Refresher
for an average of 3 hours to review your cardio-pulmonary
resuscitation skills. This refresher renews your CPR card
for the current season.
- Each year, before the start of the season, you must take
an On-The-Trail Refresher to review your
patrolling skills; orienteering, search and rescue, ropes
and knots, toboggan handling and public relations. Often
times these two refreshers are combined into a
- During the first year on the patrol, you will need to
train in skiing and toboggan handling as well as
fundamental outdoor skills. By the end of the first year,
you will be tested on these skills with other patroller
- Within the first three years, you must pass a classroom
course in basic mountaineering. This is a twelve hour
course which is usually completed in one day.
- Although the above is the minimum requirement, you may
choose to further your skills by taking additional
training available from your local patrol or through the
NSPS. Patrollers are encouraged to undertake more
advanced training, and opportunities are available to
become course instructors.