Who Are We?
The Canadian Ski Patrol System (CSPS) is a national,
non-profit, charitable organization providing safety and rescue services in ski
areas and at non-skiing events across Canada.
- Number more than 5000 members coast to coast
- Are mostly Alpine skiers, boarders and Nordic skiers
- Range from 18 to 80 years old
- Are men and women, students and professionals, from all walks of
- give their time to help those in need during the winter at ski areas
- Provide volunteer first-aid services at many non skiing events
through out the summer
- Work with many other fund raising organizations to provide first-aid
services for their events
- Work closely with all season resorts in providing year round services
like mountain bike patrols
A first aid and rescue course like no other
- patient transport from difficult terrain - like ski areas
- Chair Lift evacuation procedures
- Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Basic Rescuer Level C
- Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) training
- oxygen therapy techniques
- In mountainous regions, where avalanches can occur, we teach
avalanche specific search and rescue techniques in conjunction with the CAA
(Canadian Avalanche Association)
- Our courses are provided by CSPS certified instructor/trainers and
are ski area specific.
- CSPS has over fifty years' experience in the prevention of injuries
and the application of first aid in cases of injury or sudden illness.
Our Volunteers Benefit From
- Deals from the ski areas where we patrol, e.g.
complimentary lift ticket when on patrol
- Exchange programs between local, provincial, national and
- Discounts on ski equipment and supplies
- Belonging to an organization where you can have lots of fun, make
lifelong friendships and feel great about helping someone in need
What We Do
A Year in the Life of a Patroller
- Recruiting, for us, is a year-long adventure but it really comes to a
head in August as we start thinking about the ski season.
- During the fall, we do first aid training (40 hours for new
patrollers) or annual re-certification (20 hours for returning patrollers) and
- At the beginning of the season, you will complete your on-snow
training and certification as a new patroller (16 hours minimum) or
re-certification as a returning patroller (every three years) where you'll
learn and practice toboggan handling, backboard loading techniques and lift
- December to March/April
- Get out and use those skills you gained during the fall training
period. Rookie patrollers complete 19 shifts, returning patrollers do 14.
A day in the life appears below
check it out to
see what you'll be up to!
- Those great folks who provided your first aid training last fall are
now very busy doing their Instructor Certification and re-certifications. If
you are interested in becoming an Assistant Instructor, this is when you can
expect to take a course in your area.
- The first aid kits in many locations are still pretty busy. During
the summer months, we provide first aid services at many local non-skiing
events including marathons, bike races, fundraising events, sporting
tournaments and so on. Check what events are supported in your area through
your local CSPS contacts!
- The cycle begins again with a new patrolling season
A Day in the Life of a Patroller
- 08:30 Morning Sweep
- Check toboggan caches, trauma kits, oxygen tanks. Make first tracks
on the runs while checking for any hazardous conditions or items that need to
be addressed prior to allowing the general public on the slopes.
- 08:30 - 12:00 On Patrol
- Once the slopes are open to the public we ski in small groups of
patrollers, with friends, other clients or even with our family if we wish to.
We socialize with ski area clientele, promote our ski area and provide safety
tips to customers while we ride the lifts and ski the runs at our area. Yes, we
really get to do the "ski" in ski patrolling!
- 12:00 - 13:00 Lunch
- Although everyone won't be able to eat at the same time, you will
get a break for some sustenance. Skiing and bringing toboggans down the hill
make folks pretty hungry and you'll need to take advantage of this break to
recharge your batteries with some food!
- 13:00 - Closing Still on Patrol
- Accidents can happen throughout the day however they seem to be most
prominent after lunch through to closing time. It's almost like car accidents
that statistically happen closest to home; skiing accidents tend to happen
closest to "going home".
- When snow sport enthusiasts get injured somewhere in the area, we are
the people they count on. We work in teams to immobilize any injury they may
sustain and safely move the injured person to the Patrol hut at the bottom of
the mountain. Depending on the severity of their injuries, they will then be
released or sent for further medical attention.
- That's not all though
during the day we provide
many other services too
we reassure children that may be lost, helping
them to find their parents; we guide people to runs they are capable of skiing
and we provide many tidbits of information to the public.
- Wearing a Ski Patrol uniform means we should know and represent out
ski area well and be able to answer lots of queries, not just provide accident
assistance. Helping people is the most gratifying part of being a
- Closing Time End of Day Sweep
- We take the last run down each trail to make sure that no one is left
behind at the end of the day. During this "sweep" of the hill, we also take
note of any safety issues that may have arisen during the day that will require
correction prior to opening the slopes the following day. The Ski Patrol is
first on and last off the hill!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q. I already have a first aid certification. Do I have to take the
CSPS first aid course?
- A. Yes, our training is very specific and applies to providing
services to ski areas. Even experienced medical professionals take our course.
Our training is to a higher level than a regular first-aid courses partly
because we are trained to move patients. We include CPR, Oxygen therapy, AED
procedures, and airway management. If you have an accredited CPR Basic Rescuer
Level C for the current ski year, you need not re-certify for that skill.
- Q. What level of skier/snowboarder should I be to become a
- A. You need to be a strong intermediate skier. Since you may ski or
ride in all kinds of conditions under any circumstance, you must be able to
competently handle all of the runs on the mountain where you will patrol. You
don't need to be an expert, but you will need to be able to handle a toboggan,
and meet the minimum rating set out by the local Patrol at the particular area
you wish to patrol. Ski and snowboard instruction is often available at
preferred rates to the local Patrol.
- Q. Are there paid patrolling jobs offered?
- A. Yes, there is often a need for paid patrollers, usually for the
Monday - Friday day shifts. Advise your local patrol leader that you have the
time to be paid patroller.
- Q. Are patrollers legally protected for their actions as a
- A. Yes, the CSPS carries a general insurance policy. You are also
covered by the Good Samaritan Act.
- Q. How are ski patrollers recognized at a ski area?
- A. Most of the time we are the skiers wearing the blue and yellow
jackets with the yellow cross over a blue Maple Leaf on the back. Private
patrols may be trained by the CSPS and in that case they may have a different
colour uniform, usually red with a white cross, with a "Trained by the CSPS"
- Q. Is CSPS training recognized by other organizations?
- A. Yes, in most provinces our course is recognized by the Workplace
Safety and Insurance Board. The Ontario WSIB approves the CSPS as one of their
first aid trainers for Regulation 1101. Show your employer your CSPS
- Q. Can I take the CSPS first aid course without becoming a ski
- A. In most regions, yes. We offer a first-aid only membership
classification for patrol hut duty. In some areas of the country we provide
first aid services for many non skiing events and first-aiders are always
welcomed in these roles.
- Q. I am a snow boarder, can I be a patroller even if I have never
- A. Yes, we accept surfers, snow boarders, skiers and Nordic/telemark
skiers. We have lots of patrols in Nordic ski areas. In alpine areas, we also
accept snow blades, but we strongly suggest you ski or snowboard to make
toboggan handling easier.
- Q. Is it hard to transport a patient in a toboggan?
- A. No, we have 100 pound patrollers that can handle a 150 pound
toboggan with a 250 pound patient in it. We teach you how to do it and with a
little practice it will become something fun, you'll see.
- Q. Is there a minimum age for patrollers?
- A. Yes. You must be at least 18 years old when you obtain your
Training Certification, i.e. when you have met the first-aid and
on-hill/on-trail requirements and are awarded your jacket.
- Q. Can I choose the club/resort where I will patrol?
- A. Your preference for the area you would like to patrol is recorded
when you sign in to join the patrol (see below). In most cases, this is
honoured. You may be asked to patrol a nearby area within your zone depending
on numbers in the zone's patrols.
Joining the Kawartha Zone Ski Patrol
Put Your Name In
Go to Kawartha Zone
website for more information or use this
Outside Kawartha Zone? Please
fill in the form on the CSPS
National web site.
During the summer, you will receive a rookie information package to act
You must register and submit your fees by the end of August. Rookie
fees in 2005 were $200; Returning patroller's fees were $130. Rookie fees
include first aid supplies.
You lease your jacket from the CSPS. One-time costs range from
approximately $350 for a new Avalanche jacket to less than $100 for used
jackets. If you do not return as a patroller or you lease a new jacket, you
will be refunded your old jacket's current value.
The rookie training classes start after Labour Day and run to early
December. Classes are usually held one evening per week, for 13 weeks, from
7-10 PM totalling about 40 hours of training and testing time.
In the fall of 2005, Kawartha Zone had training locations in Markham,
Oshawa, and Peterborough on different nights of the week. All locations follow
the same schedule.
Compressed training courses done over two weekends have been held at Sir
Sam's in Haliburton and in the Oshawa area. Testing is completed outside those
weekends, usually over two evenings with the rookies from the weekly
Returning patrollers complete 20 hours of re-training and testing every
fall. Returning patrollers are always welcome to take the rookie course
For every hour of class time, you should also spend at least one hour on
your own to read the manual and practice bandaging/splinting your children,
spouse, and friends. Your weekly time commitment is about six hours.
Fitness, skill and equipment commitments
To enjoy patrolling, you should be above average in fitness and
skiing/boarding ability. Get out for some regular physical activity throughout
the year. Take a lesson from the snow school it may be the best money
you ever spend on your equipment.
You do not need the latest equipment but it must be in good condition
with sharp edges and waxed bases. Most ski shops offer a good deal on a
season's tuning pass.