Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Ski Patrol (NSP)?

The following is from the National Ski Patrol Website:

In March 1938, while officiating the National Downhill ski race at Mount Mansfield in Stowe, Vt., Roger F. Langley, then president of the National Ski Association, had an industry-changing idea. Langley was impressed by the "super patrol" for the race that Charles Minot "Minnie" Dole had created from members of the Mt. Mansfield, Pittsfield, and Burlington patrols. While watching the race at Shambles Comers on the Nosedive trail, Langley asked Dole if he would organize a national patrol like the one in use at the race. Not one to shy away from a challenge, and having lost a friend on the slopes two years earlier, "Minnie" accepted, and the National Ski Patrol was born.


Today, the nonprofit National Ski Patrol still adheres to the creed of "Service and Safety" established more than 70 years ago. As the industry has evolved, so too has the NSP. The emergence of new snow sports like snowboarding, tubing, and snow-skating has introduced new equipment and terrain, requiring new safety and rescue techniques and emergency care methods to be developed and taught. In addition, greater access to the backcountry has brought new training and regimens for NSP.


As the leading authority of on-mountain safety, the NSP is dedicated to serving the public and outdoor recreation industry by providing education and accreditation to emergency care and safety service providers. The organization is made up of more than 28,000 members serving over 650 patrols, including alpine, Nordic, and auxiliary patrollers. Our members work on behalf of local ski and snowboard areas to improve the overall experience for outdoor recreationalists.


What is the Beartooth Ski patrol?

The Beartooth Ski Patrol (BSP) is a local affiliate of the National Ski Patrol. It is a group of volunteer (non-paid) patrollers serving Red Lodge Mountain (RLM) in cooperation with the RLM General Manager and Pro Patrol staff at RLM.


What is the History of BSP?

BSP formed when the Red Lodge Mountain ski area became operational in early 1960. For many years only volunteer patrollers served the mountain. These patrollers were trained in first aid and responded to accidents on the ski hill at the direction of and under the supervision of the RLM area management. At its peak, there were approximately 80 BSP volunteer patrollers serving RLM. As RLM expanded, increased its operation to 7 days per week and skier visits grew, the area decided that a full time paid or "pro" patroller division was needed.

This progression is similar to many western U.S. ski areas. Currently BSP volunteers serve with Pro Patrollers primarily on weekends and busy holidays.


What is the Difference Between BSP Volunteer Patrollers and Pro Patrollers?

Both receive the same basic training however most Pro patrollers are employed five days per week and obtain additional training and skills as part of their employment. These additional skills are primarily related to avalanche control education and training, snowmobile operation and technical rescue training. Although it is not required, some volunteers and Pros progress into obtaining advanced EMT and Paramedic certification.

The BSP and Pro Patrollers are supervised by a Pro Patrol Director and Assistant Pro Patrol Director hired by RLM. The Pro Patrol Director expects BSP volunteers to be as interchangeable as possible with Pro patrollers while recognizing the advanced skills many Pro patrollers possess.

Many BSP and Pro Patrollers come from various occupational and professional backgrounds creating a diverse and talented team.


What is the Education and Training Required of a BSP Volunteer?

  1. Completion of the NSP OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care Course)-approximately a 120 hour written and hands-on training curriculum developed by NSP. A final written and practical, scenario-based test is administered after an OEC course is completed.
  2. Ski and toboggan training consisting of several days, primarily on weekends, where candidates practice loaded and unloaded toboggan handling skills. An on-hill test on ski and toboggan skills is then administered to insure each patroller is ready for full service duty along with other patrollers.
  3. It should be noted that this is not a Mountain Host or Auxiliary Patrol type position meaning that volunteer patrollers provide full service which includes OEC, competent toboggan handling and advanced ski skills.


What Is A Typical Day as a Patroller?

Patrollers meet at approximately 8:10a.m. each morning to be briefed on the day's activities and assignments. Each patroller is assigned to patrol with a small team in one of three zones on the mountain. Each team has a team leader who is responsible for that team's completion of projects and routine daily opening and closing duties as well as responding to accidents or other calls for service in that zone. Both opening and closing responsibilities are assigned to each patroller so that the guests of the mountain are insured a safe and positive experience.

Each patroller is generally expected to remain mostly in their assigned zone to insure a rapid response to an accident or other call for service.


Once I Become a BSP Volunteer Patroller What are the Commitments?

Typically 14-16 duty days of patrolling usually on weekends and usually 4 additional days of pre-season refreshing of various skills at RLM before the ski area opens. This includes annual OEC and CPR Refreshers.


What Are Some Benefits For a BSP Volunteer?

  • Workers Compensation coverage if injured while patrolling on duty.
  • A season pass for the BSP patroller and a family season pass for that patroller's immediate family-i.e. spouse/children
  • Usually a 50% discount on food and beverage-except alcohol.
  • A 30% discount at the RLM Retail shop. A smaller discount on ski/board tuning services.
  • As an NSP/BSP member, you have numerous discounts on a large variety of ski and outdoor equipment available from the NSP website that are not available to the general public.


Become an everday hero. A rewarding and exciting experience! Join the Beartooth Ski Patrol. Sign up now


Beartooth Ski Patrol is a volunteer run organization and depends on donations to operate. Show your appreciation by donating now.

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