Home About Joining Members Contacts  
  Benefits Day in the Life Requirements Patroller Training Candidate (Trainee) Selection
How to Join
Patroller Training

There are three parts to patroller training . Outdoor Emergency Transport (OET), Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC), and On The Hill (OTH).

Outdoor Emergency Transport

After passing the Candidate Selection, the first thing you will learn is how to transport an injured skier or boarder to the first aid room in a toboggan. This training will begin after the ski off in January with training sessions every other weekend through March. During this first season, you will also learn opening and closing procedures, radio codes, protocols, run and location names, and a myriad of other basic patroller skills/knowledge.

In this first candidate season, you are required to attend 15 days of training, which includes the 12 half-days of OTH training listed above. The additional time is spent skiing with patrollers to learn mountain procedures in on-the-hill (OTH) training. The schedule for this additional training is flexible and can be tailored to your schedule.

Outdoor Emergency Care

After passing the OET evaluation, you will learn emergency care during the summer or fall in an Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) class. This class is very similar to the one for EMT1, but it is taught by. National Ski Patrol instructors and focuses on emergency care in a ski patrol environment. Typically, there are classes in the South Bay, Oakland, Sacramento, Tahoe, and a few other locations each summer/fall. You can find class information on the NSP website. There are typically students from several of the major Sierra resorts in each OEC class.

Depending on your background, you may be able to waive the OEC course requirement. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and EMT’s may not require this course. However, emergency care that is rendered on the side of a snow-covered mountain has unique challenges as compared to care rendered in a hospital or a few steps away from an ambulance. We have found that health care professionals are more successful at completing the candidate year if they take the OEC course. We would be happy to discuss this with you and create an individual plan of study. The OEC class is approximately 80-100 hours of classroom training with additional study outside of class. There is a written and a practical evaluation at the end of the class.

On the Hill Training

After passing the OEC class evaluation, you are now competent to treat fake patients dressed in street clothes, who are on a rug inside a warm and dry classroom, according to generic protocols for most ski resorts. In December/January of your second season, you will learn to perform emergency care to specific Bear Valley protocols on patients dressed in ski/board clothing in an outdoor winter environment (cold/snow/rain). In the 2007-2008 season, there were dryland classes held in Milpitas two Sundays in November/December. Then, eight more half-days of training are scheduled for training on the snow at Bear Valley during December/January with a final evaluation in February.

You will also need to pass a written test demonstrating basic patroller knowledge before becoming a full patroller.

In this second season, as with all seasons patrolling at Bear Valley, you are required to patrol 15 days. For this season, this includes the OTH candidate training, described above.


Many candidates pass these tests on their first try, but some do not. Not passing doesn't mean that you fail or that you wash out as a patroller. It just means that you have more work to do. Once you pass the final test, you are trained in that specific discipline. For example, if you pass the OEC test but not the OET test, you can practice your ski and toboggan skills and retest OET the following season. If you don't finish in one calendar year, you will likely finish toward the end of the second season.

We are committed to working with you and seeing you succeed; however, we are just as committed to having only highly proficient patrollers rendering emergency care on the hill. Our standard measure is to ask ourselves if we would be comfortable having you treat someone in our own family.

Still Not Done

Once you pass the three tests (Transport, First Aid and On the Hill) you can wear the red jacket and can treat injured skiers and boarders, but only under the supervision of an experienced patroller. You won't be turned loose on your own until we have observed you leading the treatment of three patients.