The National Ski Patrol has recognized Seven Springs’ John Clark as Ski Patrol Director of the Year (East). John Clark has been a patroller at Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Mountain Resort since 1961, serving as Director since 1987. Clark manages and trains 150 patrollers at Seven Springs. Clark earned recognition as Ski Patrol Director of the Year following a competitive, national nomination and review.
During his 36-year tenure at Seven Springs, Clark was witnessed a change in patrolling.
“Back in the early days when the resort just had rope tows, we had a saying, ‘You fall, we haul, that’s all.’ It was scoop and run,” Clark said.
“Today, it’s dramatically different. Our staff includes EMS and CPR-trained people. We stay in tune with the medical Quick Response Service (QRS) in connection with the fire department. We have about 10 paramedics on staff, and some serve dual commands in both Pittsburgh and Somerset. We can respond to heart attack code blues. When there’s an accident anywhere in the Seven Springs area, we are prepared to help,” he added.
Clark is well-respected by his patrollers and peers. Last year alone, Clark logged more than 1,000 hours of on-hill duty. Clark has divided his patrol into four rotating teams, and stresses the importance of medical training and emergency qualifications for all of his patrollers.
Clark’s biggest safety concern is skiers and snowboarders who go beyond their ability level, threatening the safety of others.
“Our safety rangers’ jobs are to maintain a safe environment on the slopes,” Clark says, “particularly around lift lines. But our jobs go beyond the slopes. This year, for example, we sent letters to over 500 schools inviting them to our safety lectures including a rental shop tour, and demonstration of how to put on skis. We emphasize lessons, the skier’s responsibility code, and always stress skiing is a contact sport.” Clarks adds that, “when you’re learning to ski, you will definitely come in contact with the ground.”
Patrolling runs in Clark’s family. His daughter, Heather, is also a member of the Seven Springs Ski Patrol.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, located in Champion, Pennsylvania, is a year-round resort offering a multitude of activities. In the winter, Seven Springs offers 14 slopes and 16 trails for skiing and snowboarding, and a snow tubing park. Seven Springs hopes to open in late November or early December.
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.
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