Canadian Ski Patrol System
Ontario Division, Kawartha Zone
Who Are We?
· Our Volunteers
· Our Strengths
· Our Benefits
What We Do
· A Year in the Life
· A Day in the Life
Ski Patrol

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.

Our Volunteers

Our Strengths

A first aid and rescue course like no other including…

Our Volunteers Benefit From

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 testing.
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 evacuation procedures.
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 patroller.
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 patroller?
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 patroller?
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" insignia.
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 identification card.
Q. Can I take the CSPS first aid course without becoming a ski patroller?
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 skied?
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 shortcut.

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 on.

Cost commitments

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.

Time commitments

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 courses.

Returning patrollers complete 20 hours of re-training and testing every fall. Returning patrollers are always welcome to take the rookie course again.

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.