Appendix S: Patrol Recruiting

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Patrol Recruiting

TBSP is always looking for eager candidates to join the patrol. The more patrollers we have available on a given day, the larger the area we are capable of assisting.

Going for a ski along

TBSP Patroller rips the powder on the East slope of Castle.
SkiAlongs are the best way to get to know the Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol. TBSP invites members of the public who may be interested in joining the patrol to come for a "Ski-Along" day during any regular Castle Peak patrol days.

Ski Along requests are subject to the discretion of the Mountain Manager. We are able to provide Ski Alongs to prospective patrol candidates on most days when we patrol, but request at least 5 days notice for prospective ski along candidates.

How to arrange for a Ski Along

Ski Alongs should be requested by filling out the form at Ski Alongs must be requested at least 5 days in advance.

  • Guests are required to sign a liability waiver prior to patrolling with TBSP NSP Event Release Form from the NSP Document Library. Blank copies are also found in the Ops trailer black box. File these in the Patrol Reports binder.
  • The guest must supply their full name, mailing address and phone number to the Mountain Manager.
  • By Friday morning: The Mountain Manager must forward the guest's full name and mailing address to the Tahoe National Forest contact. On the email copy and
  • No more than two guests may visit with TBSP on any Ski-Along day.
  • NSP members are encouraged to come out for a ski-along

Ski-Along Procedure

  • Guests will patrol at Castle Peak, and only with a regular patrol team (not training, instruction, or “Challenging Terrain”).
  • A guest may not bring or invite any other person (or dog) on patrol with TBSP, the only exception being for avalanche rescue dogs which are owned and have been trained by the guest.
  • On the assigned patrol day, a guest shall meet TBSP at the Equipment Shed at 8:30 AM.
  • A guest shall be expected to ski the same distance, duration, and terrain as the TBSP team, which may on occasion exceed six miles, 2000 feet of climbing, and 2000 feet of descent, with up to black-diamond difficulty, and any snow conditions, for a full day. It is the responsibility of the guest to be familiar with, and prepared for, such an effort.
  • A guest will be accompanied by a radio-carrying TBSP patroller (to be assigned by the Team Leader) at all times while on patrol.
  • Guests are not allowed to provide medical assistance, regardless of guest experience. TBSP patrollers shall take leadership of all incidents.
  • Time (typically 30 – 60 minutes) will be provided as a lunch break.
  • Return to the equipment shed typically occurs by shortly after sunset, but this is not guaranteed.
  • Upon return to the TBSP Patrol Operations Center, all loaned equipment must be returned to TBSP in as good a condition as it was loaned out. Equipment to be returned may include avalanche transceivers, probe poles, ensolite foam pads, shovels, pack crosses, and Sno-Park permits. Report any lost or damaged equipment immediately to the Patrol Leader.
  • TBSP’s patrolling season is roughly mid-December to third week of April, weekends only.

Required Personal Equipment

Coming along as a guest on a backcountry ski patrol day requires 6-10 miles of cross country and 1500-2000' of elevation gain and loss. You should have sturdy downhill skis with AT or telemark bindings. Snowboarders should consider demoing a splitboard, but be aware that you will be required to be able to assemble and disassemble this equipment on your own. We regret that we cannot accomodate NNN or "cross country" skis on patrol.

Please consult the Patrol Manual for a complete listing of required equipment, including avalanche equipment: Appendix A: Required Personal Equipment.

Candidate Training

New members of TBSP pass through a candidate program before becoming members of the patrol. As part of this process, you will be certified in:

  • NSP Introduction to Ski Patrol
  • NSP Avalanche 1 for the Professional Rescuer
  • NSP Mountain Travel and Rescue Level 1

This training program can be completed in either one or two seasons:

  • Candidates who complete the NSP Outdoor Emergency Care certification (medical course) before beginning the candidate program may take all three courses in a single season.
  • Candidates who have not completed the NSP OEC certification before beginning the candidate program may take the Avalanche and Mountaineering courses in their first season, in addition to participating in a specified number of patrol days, and will be allowed into the Intro to Ski Patrol course in their second season, after completing the OEC certification in the fall.
  • It is also occasionally possible for qualified candidates to join the training program after the season has begun. These midseason candidates may take the Avalanche course in their first season, as well as participating in a specified number of patrol days, and will finish the training in their second season after completing the OEC certification in the fall.
  • We also welcome patrollers transferring to our patrol. Transfer patrollers can be waived out of the MTR and Avalanche courses but are expected to participate in the ISP course during their candidate season.

A current certification in two-rescuer CPR (Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer or equivalent) is a prerequisite for all candidates. Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol Manual

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