Appendix D: Patroller Roles

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Mountain Manager Responsibilities

  • Make sure that the patrol weekend proceeds safely, effectively and as planned.
  • Sign off on the completeness and accuracy of Patrol Reports

Prior to the Weekend

  • Decide how many patrols for each day of the upcoming weekend. Plan for equipment usage.
    • Minimum patrol is 1 full patroller and 1 candidate who has completed OEC.
    • Arrange with your PLs what In-Service Training will be performed by each patrol.
  • Solicit volunteers for Patrol Leader (PL) positions for each day.
    • Arrange with PLs to meet at equipment shed at 8:00 am on the patrol to prepare patrol gear.
    • Assign remaining people to their PLs and inform PLs and patrollers.
  • Plan for any ski alongs. (Max 2/day, must go to CP)

Day of Patrol

  • 7:30 am: Check road conditions, weather and avalanche forecasts. Modify plan for patrolling as appropriate.
  • 8:00 am: Meet PLs at equipment shed. Prepare patrolling gear and use Patrol Report to log gear out.
    • Make sure each patrol has the appropriate forms/maps for their National Forest.
    • MM may make recommendations, but PLs have final say over route selection and equipment usage.
  • 8:30 am: Meet remaining patrollers at the patrol shed. Wait at least 15 minutes (more if conditions warrant) for stragglers. Modify patrol assignments if necessary for balance.
    • Decide on time to rendezvous at the equipment shed - generally 4:30 p.m. (early season) to 5:30 p.m. (late season). Remember, most incidents occur late in the day.
Meeting at the Trailhead
Meeting at the trailhead is always an option, however because patrol assignments and planning are based on who shows up at the patrol shed. The decision to allow meeting at a specified trailhead is at the sole discretion of the Mountain Manager and must be approved in advance.
Patrol Cancellation
Cancellation of the patrol is always up to the discretion of the mountain manager. If canceling, contact scheduled patrollers and leave message on Chalet answering machine. Patrols can be cancelled because of torrential rain or road closures; patrols should not be cancelled because of heavy snow or high avalanche danger. If members of the public are out there, we should be too.
  • Carry a radio, even if not on patrol, and a spare battery.

End of Day

  • PLs and MM should prepare gear for the next patrol day, including recharging used batteries and drying wet items.
  • Repair equipment or notify Operations Officer of repair needed by listing it on the Patrol Report.
  • Retrieve Patrol Report and any other forms (such as Incident Reports) from PLs. Have PLs rewrite inaccurate, incomplete, or illegible forms. Forms should be suitable for faxing and completed in blue or black ink.
  • Ensure TBSP shed is closed and locked.

End of the Weekend

  • Notify Patrol Director via telephone of any incidents. Write down and email details to as soon as possible – within the week.
  • File your Mountain Manager Report online at within 3 days. Patrollers will not get credit for days patrolled until this report is filed.

Thanks for being a Mountain Manager!

Patrol Leader

Make sure that the patrol day proceeds safely, effectively, as planned, and the events and attendance are documented.

Prior to your Patrol

  • Meet with the Mountain Manager at Equipment Shed at 8:00 am of the patrol day to prepare patrolling gear.
  • Contact patrol members and verify expected attendance, and inform where and when to meet (normally 8:30 a.m. at the Equipment Shed). This must be done by MM or PL; if the PL refuses, then the MM should find another PL.

Patrol Day

  • 8:00 am: meet MM at the equipment shed. Prepare patrolling gear.
    • Begin filling out the Patrol Report with radio call signs and proposed tour location.
    • Take a Car Cache.
    • Agree with MM on time to rendezvous at equipment shed.
  • 8:30 am: meet with patrollers and distribute gear and discuss the day's agenda.
    • Proceed to trailhead and call into NF dispatch.
    • Know the capabilities of your patrol members.
  • Perform beacon check.
  • Proceed with the patrol, making decisions as to route, equipment usage, and patrol split-up, training, and incidents as necessary.
  • Fill out Patrol Report as day proceeds, recording as necessary: survey results, snowmobile activity in closed areas, avalanche activity above what is forecast, incidents, etc.
  • Remember to include time for activities or training.
  • Return to trailhead.
  • Retrieve gear from patrol members and note any gear needing drying. For gear needing repair, make a note on the Patrol Report, then tag the item and set it aside at the shed. Do not return defective or incomplete items to bins for another patroller to deal with.
  • Meet MM at equipment shed at agreed-upon time.
  • Contact MM if you are going to be substantially late.
  • Help MM to prepare gear for next patrol day; including recharging used batteries and drying wet items.
  • Give all completed forms to MM. Replenish your forms module with blanks.

Every Patroller

Do your best to patrol safely, effectively, and on the days you have signed up for.

Any Time

  • Find a substitute patroller if you will be absent from an official patrol day and update the online schedule. You must find a substitute with the same patroller status as you. Do this as soon as possible, not at the last minute! Please don't expect the MM or Operations Officer to find a replacement for you.
  • Schedule a patrol day to make up for any official sign-up day you missed. Exceptions will be entirely at the discretion of Operations Officer, but might include lack of snow (early in the season), or extended highway closure due to extreme weather. Exceptions will NOT include rain, personal reasons or a few snowflakes. Attendance will be monitored and you will be notified if you don't fulfill your required number of patrol days.

Prior to Patrol Weekend

  • Contact MM with any questions or to volunteer for Patrol Leader responsibilities
  • Prepare Personal Equipment as per manual (such as replacing old batteries, making sure you have the right maps, restocking first aid supplies, etc.). Carry a charged cell phone.
  • Arrange transportation and car-pools for the weekend, and where to meet if other than the Shed. Keep in mind that patrol assignments may change at the last minute for a variety of reasons.

Patrol Day

  • Verify road conditions for safety.
  • Bring all your mandatory gear, as well as TBSP phone list and charged cell phone if you have one.
  • Arrive at the equipment shed (or other meeting spot designated by MM) by 8:30 am (call shed if you’re going to be late.). Wait, if necessary, for the MM and PLs to arrive. Proceed with assigned patrol to patrolling location.
  • Inform PL of anything that may compromise your effectiveness while patrolling, such as physical limitations.
  • Receive assigned equipment from PL, and carry in your pack. Participate in avalanche transceiver check.
  • Patrol with patrol as directed by PL. Do not leave patrol except as permitted by PL, and never go solo or without a radio. Causing a search for a missing patroller is unacceptable.
  • Be prepared to participate in any training scenarios or actual incidents as requested by the PL.
  • Help with any surveys and make contact with the public.
  • Remember to have fun!
  • Return assigned equipment to the PL at the end of the patrol day at shed or trailhead, and notify the PL if any equipment needs to be dried, repaired or has been opened.

Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol Manual

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