Skiing is not as dangerous as other sports, such as, say, playing football in the NFL, but it still presents some risks for injury. A combination of bad luck, bad snow conditions, and skiing outside one’s ability can lead to serious injury. It is comforting to know that most ski resorts have outstanding Ski Patrols ready to assist with any type of injury. In this article, we take a peek at Whitetail’s Ski Patrol. Since Whitetail’s opening in 1991, the Whitetail Patrol has continually received outside recognition for its ability to respond to injuries promptly and professionally.
You’ve no doubt seen patrollers skiing the slopes at Whitetail. A Patrol hut is located at the top of Angel Drop, just to the right as you get off the Whitetail Express lift. Whitetail’s Patrol consists of both paid and volunteer skiers; all are certified in Outdoor Emergency Care and most are also certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s). In addition to on-slope patrollers, the Ski Patrol consists of doctors, nurses, paramedics and EMT’s, housed in the First Aid Clinic, below the rental building.
Whitetail is located on the fringe of ambulance companies’ areas, making it particularly important to have a well-qualified staff of patrollers that can provide immediate emergency care. In 1996, the Pennsylvania Department of Health acknowledged Whitetail’s Ski Patrol by granting it status as a Quick Response Service (QRS).
This year, Whitetail’s QRS received the Waynesboro Life Support Services Vice President’s Award, in recognition of the advanced life support service offered by Whitetail. The Pennsylvania Department of Health Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund (EMSOF) awarded Whitetail a grant of over $2,000 to apply towards medical services; Whitetail used this grant, along with funds raised by volunteer patrollers, to purchase an automated external defibrillator.
Whitetail’s Ski Patrol Director, Jon Magi, was awarded with a prestigious National Ski Patrol Appointment for providing outstanding service to the National Ski Patrol, the ski industry, and local patrollers. Magi was nominated by his counterpart at a competing ski resort, demonstrating the camaraderie between patrollers at various resorts. Magi trains the staff at Whitetail, is an Outdoor Emergency Care Instructor, an Alpine Toboggan Instructor, and a regional Lift Evacuation Program Advisor.
The Whitetail Patrol does not tolerate skiers who ski out of control, since they put others at risk. If you ski haphazardly, or particularly if you ski while intoxicated, do not be surprised if the Whitetail Patrol clips your lift ticket. (Skiing out of bounds is another quick way to end your day at Whitetail. A word of advice: most people who think they can out-ski a ski patroller can’t!) Most experiences with the Ski Patrol will be positive: Whitetail patrollers make an effort to mingle with guests at Whitetail, and Jon Magi has also been encouraging more patrollers to take up snowboarding.
Hopefully, you will never need to rely on the services of Whitetail’s Ski Patrol or the Patrols at other area resorts. It’s comforting to know, however, that quality medical care is available close to the slopes if the need arises.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.