Wild Skills Jr Ski Patrol at Big Sky Resort

Participants skied in groups lead by female ski patrollers

On April 14, 2018, SheJumps Wild Skills hosted Junior Ski Patrol at Big Sky Resort, a day camp where girls learned mountain safety and first aid while working with the strong women of the ski patrol community and SheJumps volunteers. Throughout the day, participants were taught a range of outdoor skills that are utilized by ski patrollers to keep the mountain safe. Topics included first aid, avalanche control, snow science, weather stations, toboggans, avalanche rescue techniques, avalanche dogs and much more.

Pro Patrollers introduce themselves to the Wild Skills participants

The day started at 9:30am with registration, meeting team members and making Junior Ski Patroller cards. Teams consisted of 8-9 participants, 3 SheJumps volunteers and 1-2 Big Sky pro patrollers.

At 10am, the teams participated in a morning meeting lead by Amy who informed the girls about what ski patrol does and reviewed the day’s schedule. Next up, Carolyn recapped what conditions have been like on the mountain and decoded the weather forecast for the girls. Both of these topics are covered in the Big Sky Ski Patrol’s morning meetings each day before going out for control work.

By 10:30 am, the teams were headed up Swifty to start the morning station set which included Patroller led demonstrations in prevention and care of injuries – role playing situations which included making splints and stopping bleeding.

Patroller, Amy, demonstrates how she would care for someone with a leg injury

Next up, teams learned about snowmobiles, toboggans and why patrollers cache gear on the mountain. This station set included finding caches and learning how to load & maneuver the toboggans. Driving toboggans was undoubtedly their favorite part of the day!

This event had 33 participants, 11 volunteers and 8 pro patrollers.

Lunch was hosted in the North Mammoth Room and consisted of everyone’s favorite: PIZZA! Plus fruit, veggies and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

Patroller, Katie, gets her group ready for their next activity.

After lunch, all teams headed to the top of Powder Seeker for the Hasty Search demonstration. A lead patroller called out the scene as others sprung to action searching with beacons, probing and digging. At one point, rescuers called for more help including a request for an avalanche rescue dog. Boogie and his handler, Tom Kulesza, arrived on scene and within seconds Boogie had recovered the victim, SheJumps Ambassador Rachel Stewart, who had been buried in the dog hole since before the girls arrived at the site.

Many of the girls were surprised to see a person was buried there and couldn’t wait to try out the dog hole for themselves!

Boogie loved the SheJumps girls so much he even wore a tutu!

Patrol continued to search as there was the possibility of multiple burials. The team formed a probe line and conducted a thorough search of the area recovering one more item from the slide path. After the search wrapped, girls were allowed to meet Boogie and greet him with pets. Remember when encountering working dogs like Boogie on the mountain – always ask before greeting them.

Next up, the teams proceeded to their Buried Treasure Hunt locations that were spread throughout the mountain. Patrollers lead the team in how to properly conduct a search utilizing a beacon, probe and shovel. At SheJumps, we strongly believe in education and fun – our events blend both of these elements to make for the safest and most entertaining adventure possible. After tracking down the buried treasure each team uncovered their booty: a beacon & bag full of donut holes.

JulieAnn demonstrates the proper way to use an avalanche beacon

At 3:30pm, all teams gathered for wrap up which included certificates for completing the day and a sweet swag bag filled with goodies from Clif Bar, EcoLips, and the National Ski Patrol Association.

Our goal with SheJumps Wild Skills is to see girls learning, having fun and connecting in an encouraging environment with amazing instruction and support from female mentors. We want Wild Skills to be an experience they will remember, one that will spark a lifetime of passion for the outdoors and will remind them that they are capable of anything. Giving participants, young and old, the opportunity to learn skills in a fun yet challenging setting develops perseverance and fosters confidence. Thanks to all that helped make this program come to life!

A very happy Wild Skills camper

If you’re interested in bringing Junior Ski Patrol to your local hill – contact Wild Skills Director, Christy Pelland cpelland@shejumps.org

Special thanks to our presenting partner:
Clif Bar: http://www.clifbar.com/

Supporting partners:
Big Sky Resort: https://bigskyresort.com/
Big Sky Ski Patrol: https://bsvsp.com/
Ortovox: https://www.ortovox.com/us/
National Ski Patrol Association: https://www.nsp.org/

SUPER High fives to:
Montana Regional Coordinator –
Hailey Leonardson: hleonardson@shejumps.org 

Big Sky Ski Patroller – Rachael Efta!
Big Sky Events Coordinator & SheJumps Ambassador, Rachel Stewart!
For making this event happen! We look forward to hosting many more Wild Skills events in the Big Sky/Bozeman area!

Rockies Region Facebook Group: Montana and Wyoming!