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Ski Patrol needed for Dt. Mountain

Spring may be upon us, but ski lovers excited about the re-opening of Detroit Mountain are already gearing up for next winter.

The Detroit Mountain Ski Patrol is ramping up its recruitment efforts this month as it forms its all-volunteer group of patrollers.

Armed with the responsibility of responding to any medical emergency or injury on the mountain, the ski patrol is being trained on first aid, outdoor emergency care and how to evacuate people off the mountain.

Right now the organization already has roughly 20 people who have signed up for the job, but Detroit Mountain Ski Patrol Director Stacy Salvevold says they still need more to ensure there will always be enough bodies on the mountain during its operating hours.

There will be a recruiting event held at Lakeside Restaurant April 14 at 7 p.m. At that meeting, group leaders will explain what the training will entail, as well as the responsibilities of the recruits.

“We are looking for people who are fairly experienced at skiing — not necessarily advanced, but advanced by Minnesota standards,” said Salvevold, who says they want to recruit as many volunteers as possible this month.

“We have an extensive training schedule that starts with CPR certification in May and June,” she said, adding that the group falls under the umbrella of the national Ski Patrol, which spells out the guidelines and training new recruits will have to go through.

“The CPR certification this summer is four to eight hours and then 80 to 100 hours on a course called Outdoor Emergency Care, which is almost an EMT-level first aid certification where they’ll be able to provide first aid and safety at the mountain anytime somebody gets hurt,” said Salvevold, who adds patrollers will be trained and certified to use good old fashioned toboggans to evacuate people off the mountain.

She says while in-coming recruits need to know how to ski or snowboard (because snowboarding has recently been deemed an acceptable way to patrol), they will be taught some special skiing techniques specific to their duties.

“More than anything, they just have to have a willingness to advance their skiing ability and to challenge themselves to learn some new skills,” said Salvevold, “because we work on ski skills that aren’t typical to downhill skiing.”

Salvevold says she and some other volunteers that helped start the group spent many weekends this past winter traveling to Bemidji for training and says while there is a serious responsibility that comes with being a ski patroller, the group is already turning out to be a family-friendly, fun organization.

“The patrols are neat to be engaged with; everybody gets together in the morning and has coffee before going up on the mountain,” she said, adding that while patrollers don’t get paid, they will be privy to some perks.

“We’re still working on what the benefits will be, but probably things like season passes and discounts…” said Salvevold, adding that volunteers must be 18 years or older or have a parent’s permission, and should sign up before summer because some of the training can be hard to come by.

She says like her, many others in the community are excited to be advocates and liaisons for Detroit Mountain.

“I think there’s a lot of energy in groups like this that support this goal and having that skiing opportunity in their backyards again,” Salvevold added.

For more information on the recruitment event, call Stacy Salvevold at 218-770-2062.