Since this is a forum to meet new people, I thought I'd introduce myself.
My name is Gill and I'm 33 (about to be 34). I've been skiing since I could walk. Both my wife and I love to get out on the mountain (although I'm a bit more of a cold weather lover). I work in Northern Virginia for Oracle Corp. and wish that I could somehow wrangle a few more days to ski out of my schedule.
I've been considering making the trek up to Whitetail or Liberty in the evenings after work, so I would love to meet folks with similar notions. Perhaps we could get a regular group together for these trips?
Like you, I love to ski. I've been skiing not quite as long as you but since junior high. I'm also 34 and in Northern VA. BTW, have you thought about joining the Ski Liberty Ski Patrol or Whitetail Ski Patrol? They are always looking for members. I joined Ski Liberty's patrol about five years ago and have made a whole new set of friends that ski. You might want to consider it. It's not as hard as you think!
I have given joining Liberty's or Whitetail's patrol team, but I just never followed through on it. I guess I figured it was too long a drive to make on a frequent basis. How often do you patrol (in other words, how often would I be expected to work)? My current job keeps me pretty busy, so days are out and I'd be concerned about getting there in time for night skiing to begin (I believe it starts about 4:30 or 5:00). Weekends would work for me.
What all is involved with becoming a patroller? I imagine there are some training classes, but I'm not sure what else.
Thanks for the info.
What a timely question! In fact, Jim has written a great feature article for DCSki describing the Ski Patrol and what's involved in joining. It's sitting on my iMac here waiting to be edited and placed on-line.
I'm swamped this week, but hopefully I'll have a chance to get it up this weekend. It provides a lot of insight into the life of a patroller and outlines the process of becoming one.
I did write an article for Scott and I have to send him some JPEG pics to go with it. My fault - I tend to procrastinate. As far as shifts go, since each area varies, I didn't cover it in the article since that was supposed to be a general view of patrolling.
For Liberty (I suspect Whitetail will be similar), the first year is the toughest with training on Friday nights (starting at 6:00pm) in June, September, October, November and December. Starting in December and running through the rest of the season, you're there for the entire weekend. It IS a lot of time, but once you get through that first year, it really becomes a cake walk. Liberty's requirements are one weeknight every other week (starts at 6:00pm and goes to close) and one weekend out of three (either 7am to 3pm or 2pm to close). So really, a fairly light schedule. The benefits (both tangible and intangible) are awesome: meeting great people, helping others, free skiing (well - mostly - you have to buy your training materials and the gear). After training is done, additional benefits for full patrollers include pro deals on ski equipment, a free meal (up to $7.00) during each shift your work, a seasons pass for yourself (for when you're not patrolling) and either a season's pass for every family member in your household or 20 free lift tickets to give out as you see fit. Some of my best friends are ones I met on the patrol.
The other option is teaching (I'm no good at that). You can become a ski instructor at Liberty relatively easily (more so than patrol). The catch is that you have to go EVERY weekend and there's not as much free skiing since you'll be teaching. BUT, unlike patrolling, you do get paid (minimum wage) and your jackets are provided on a seasonal loaner basis. There is a steep fee at the beginning ($200) but it's cheaper than a season's pass and it's designed to help weed out those who aren't as serious. Email me if your interested in more info on that. I can give you names and phone numbers for Liberty.
Unfortunately, both the patrol and ski instructor rosters are set for this year. All this info is food for thought for next season. Although for patrol, you usually have to sign up a season in advance. Good luck!
Thanks for all the information you've provided. I look forward to reading the article you wrote for Scott. It sounds like hte schedule for Patrolling isn't too bad, so I'd definitely be interested.
Does your article provide contact names and numbers? If not, could you post them or send them to me directly(firstname.lastname@example.org)?