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Fort McMurray Zone Ski Patrol

Who we are
If you ski or snowboard at Vista Ridge, you probably have seen the Fort McMurray Ski Patrol on the hill providing first aid services.  Did you know that the ski patrollers from the Fort McMurray zone are members of the National Canadian Ski Patrol (CSP) organization consisting of almost 5000 volunteer ski patrollers at over 230 ski areas from coast to coast?  The Fort McMurray zone ski patrol group have provided first aid services for the Fort McMurray area since 1982.

The Fort McMurray ski patrol is a non-profit organization that provides volunteer first aid services and trauma intervention for the snow sliding public.  Most of our work is done at the Vista Ridge Ski Hill, but we also provide services at local non-ski events, the latest one being the Northern kickoff CFL pre-game activities at Shell Place.  Other events we have provided our first aid services include the Kids of Steel Triathlon, Northern Lights Triathlon, Oilsands Marathon, the Arctic winter games, ski and snowboard competitions, mountain bike races and Canada Day celebrations 

In addition to the first aid services we provide, we also act as “ambassadors” of safe skiing and boarding at the ski hill.  We believe our interaction with the youth of today is another positive benefit of our presence at Vista Ridge.

Advanced First Aid Training
The Canadian ski patrol comprehensive first advanced aid course is accredited provincially by the Government of Alberta and Nationally.  All members of the Canadian ski patrol are required to complete sixty (60) hours of classroom first aid training, testing and certification, including cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training before they can become certified patrollers.  Patrollers also receive training in rescue toboggan handling, on-hill extrication procedures, accident scene management and chair lift evacuation.

Prior to each ski season, each patroller, including first year and returning patrollers, must recertify to ensure that their first aid, CPR and AED skills meet the specified national skill levels. The end result is the highest level of emergency medical services provided at no charge to the Fort McMurray community.

The organization is primarily responsible for providing volunteer ski patrol services to Vista Ridge on the weekends to ensure the users of Wood Buffalo have a safe ski environment and a pleasant ski experience. 

Who we serve 
The vast majority of our “customers” are youth, ranging from pre-schoolers to teens.  We typically treat over one hundred injuries during each ski season.  Injuries range from cuts and scrapes to sometimes serious life threatening injuries requiring rapid identification of head, spinal or internal injuries often treated by immobilization using a backboard, application of oxygen, and monitoring of vital signs in preparation for transport to the hospital by EMS.   We treat most of these patients on the hill or in our patrol hut, sometimes in extreme weather conditions and sometimes in unusual and difficult places, such as within the woods, on steep pitches or at terrain park features.

New Looks, New Uniforms
The Canadian ski patrol is undergoing some exciting rebranding with the biggest change being new uniforms for this coming season.  The Canadian ski patrol is moving to red jackets with a white cross so look forward to our new look.

If you love to ski or snowboard, are over the age of 18, want to learn some advanced first aid skills, improve your ski or boarding skills, and want to have fun, the Fort McMurray ski patrol is the perfect group for you.  The Fort McMurray zone is presently actively recruiting for the upcoming ski season.  No prior first aid training is required as an advanced level of first aid training is provided and typically starts at the end of September and goes to the end of November.

Other benefits include great pro-deals from many of the Canadian ski patrol sponsors, including ski equipment from Head, K2, Fischer, Kastle, Elan, Thule, and clothing from Avalanche, Arc’teryx, Auclair, Icebreaker and many more.  

So if you like to volunteer a few days each month, learn and practice your first aid skills, keep physically fit and enjoy the comradery with other patrollers, we want you!

More information about the Fort McMurray ski patrol zone including information on how to join can be found on our website  On September 1st and 2nd, the Fort McMurray ski patrol will have an open house for additional information and a chance to meet some of the instructors and answer any questions you might have.  Hope to see you this coming ski season!