NSP Eastern Division’s Outstanding Nordic Patrol 2003 – 2004

The Northfield Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol is a member organization of the Nordic Program of the National Ski Patrol (NSP). We belong to the Western Massachusetts Region of the Eastern Division of NSP. The patrol serves the cross-country skiers at Northfield Mountain by providing a safe environment and emergency care.

Nordic Patrolling
Nordic ski patrols were organized in the early seventies to provide emergency care at cross-country ski races, on backcountry ski tours, or at ski touring centers. Nordic patrollers meet uniform standards of training and possess nationally-recognized credentials.

Patrol History
We were founded in the 1973–1974 season as a professional patrol whose members were the paid Ranger staff at Northfield Mountain. In 1974–5 we welcomed volunteer members to the ranks. Today the patrollers are mostly volunteers, although we still have some professionals on the team. As the first nordic patrol at a ski touring area in the United States, we organized and trained other nordic patrols. The patrol celebrated its Thirty-fifth Anniversary in January, 2010.

Our Training
All candidates complete the National Ski Patrol’s Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) course. The Nordic Phase of training prepares the patroller for backcountry skiing throughout the country. Instruction consists of lectures, frequent hands-on exercises, and practical emergency scenarios. Nordic training is largely conducted outdoors.

Outdoor Emergency Care:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Patient Assessment
  • Airway Management
  • Medical & Trauma Emergencies
  • Emergency Scene Management
  • Evacuation Techniques
Nordic Skills:

  • Map & Compass, GPS
  • Ropes & Knots
  • High-Angle Rescue
  • Skiing Skills Development
  • Winter Survival
  • Backcountry Rescue

OEC completion is a nationally-recognized credential accepted by all patrols affiliated with NSP. All patrollers attend an OEC and a nordic refresher one weekend every fall in order to maintain skills. Training continues throughout the ski season. All patrollers are certified in American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Automatic External Defibrillation Essentials, and Oxygen Administration for the Professional Rescuer and are annually re-certified. All training is provided free at Northfield Mountain.

Who We Are
Among our patrollers are nurses, current and former EMTs, PSIA Nordic instructors, past and present alpine patrollers, and whitewater rescuers. Our membership includes rock climbers, hikers, backpackers, winter mountaineers, paddlers, telemarkers, mountain bikers, road cyclists, divers, pilots, percussionists, trackers, Skywarn weather spotters and more. Our members live in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

Advanced Training
The ski patrol provides several avenues for advancement in personal skills and organizational leadership:

  • Mountain Travel & Rescue
  • Avalanche Safety
  • Nordic Skiing Enhancement
  • Senior Emergency Management
  • Instructor Development

Nationally credentialled courses are offered in these programs. The National Ski Patrol’s education web page has more details.

Off-Mountain Activities
Every two years, nordic patrollers throughout the Northeast take part in Nordic Fest, a weekend of skiing skills development, telemarking, rescue scenarios, and more. The NSP Eastern Division hosts Avalanche, Mountain Travel & Rescue, and Nordic Continuing Education Seminars of presentations and exercises related to avalanche safety, cold weather clothing and rescue, and mountaineering. This event has been held at the Army’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, New Hampshire and at Northfield Mountain. At the end of each summer our own patrol enjoys a weekend of relaxation and activity at YMCA Camp Wiyaka in southwestern New Hampshire, which is reserved for our exclusive use.