A Bit Of National Ski Patrol History
The National Ski Patrol (NSP), founded in 1938 by Charles M. (Minnie) Dole, had
followed its creed of "Service and Safety" since the establishment of skiing as
a popular sport in the United States. The NSP has become the largest winter rescue
organization in the world. It is composed of more than 28,500 members serving over 600 ski
patrols including volunteer, paid, alpine, snowboard and nordic patrollers throughout the
United States and certain military areas in Europe.
The National Ski Patrol has worked closely with other countries in outdoor emergency
care education, and has assisted in establishing ski patrol organizations in Canada,
Korea, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey, Argentina and Chile, as well as the Victorian Rescue
Service in Australia. The NSP was organized and directed by Dole as a committee of the
National Ski Association (now the United States Ski Association). Through his efforts as
the first national director of the NSP, the organization spread its effects and esprit
de corps across the nation. Upon his retirement in 1950, Dole had built the NSP into
an organization of 300 ski patrols and 4,000 members. During World War II, Dole was
responsible for the establishment of the famed 10th Mountain Division of the US
Army. Applicants for this remarkable military unit, which saw much of its fighting
activity in Italy, were screened by the NSP. Many individuals who were responsible for the
establishment of many ski areas in the US served in the 10th Mountain Division,
and have contributed significantly to the sport.
The NSP is composed of 10 geographic and one professional division for paid patrollers.
The organizations' members are engaged in patrol activity on the slopes and in the
promotion of safety programs across the mountain recreation community. Safe skiing and
snowboarding attitudes are offered to the public continuously in a sincere effort to
reduce accidents and make mountain sports more enjoyable.
The NSP, in addition to its own ski safety programs, works closely with the United
States Ski Team, National Ski Area Association, Ski Industries America, Professional Ski
Instructors of America, US Ski Writers Association, US Forest Service, National Park
Service, and other organizations and agencies in the promotion of skiing and ski safety.
Movies, television, radio, brochures, lectures and ski area signage all devoted to ski
safety have either been initiated by the NSP or cooperatively produced.
In 1980, the National Ski Patrol was recognized as a Federal Charter by the United
States Congress. This is a coveted endorsement that only a few other American
institutions, like the Red Cross, the YMCA, and the Boy Scouts, have earned. The Charter
stipulates the promotion of safety and health in skiing and other outdoor winter
recreational activities. The NSP annually reports directly to Congress.
The usefulness, stature and position of the National Ski Patrol had been attained
through the devoted efforts of thousands of ski patrollers, some of whom have become
involved in other phases of the sport. The NSP is continually growing and improving,
offering many invaluable services to area management as well as to the public to include
summertime activities such as mountain biking.
The National Ski Patrol is a nonprofit organization, deriving its primary financial support from membership dues, donations, user fees and corporate sponsorship. The national office is located in Lakewood, Colorado, and is staffed with full-time employees to handle administrative duties.
The URL of this page is http://patrol.org/sssp/History.htm .
It was last updated on 20 February 2008 at 18:52 PST.
We welcome your e-mail comments, suggestions, stuff to be included, and requests to add new links. The Seven Springs Ski Patrol presentation is maintained on a volunteer basis by Sam Strohm of the patrol and Jim Blauch of IT Consulting. It does not represent the official position of the National Ski Patrol System or Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Copyright © 1998-2004 by James Lloyd Blauch. All rights reserved.