Wild Skills Junior Ski Patrol: Jackson Hole

On Saturday, February 9, 2019, SheJumps Wild Skills hosted Junior Ski Patrol at Jackson Hole Mountain 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, communication, weather stations, toboggans, avalanche rescue techniques, avalanche dogs and much more.

The day started at 9:30am with registration, meeting team members and making Junior Ski Patroller cards. Teams consisted of 8-10 participants, 3 SheJumps volunteers and 2 Jackson Hole pro patrollers.

At 10am, the teams participated in a morning meeting led by ‘Acting Director for the Day’ Steve Whitney (Whit), JHMR Patroller Jen Calder (Jenbo), SheJumps Wild Skills Director Christy Pelland (that’s me!) and JHMR President, Mary Kate Buckley. Mary Kate spoke of JHMR’s pride in their female ski patrollers and encouraged the girls to see them as role models along with other strong women in their mountain community.

Next up, Lisa Van Sciver (LVS) recapped what conditions have been like on the mountain and decoded the weather forecast for the girls. These topics are covered in JHMR Ski Patrol’s morning meetings each day before going out for control work. By 10:30 am, the teams were headed up AV & Casper to start the morning station sets which included First Aid. Patroller led demonstrations in securing a scene, prevention and care of injuries.

Next up, teams learned about running rigs/toboggans and all the elements involved with safely operating them on the mountain. This station set included learning how to load & maneuver the toboggans. Driving toboggans was undoubtedly a favorite part of the day!   

Many ‘Anytime Skills’ were covered while the teams free skied. Skills including knots, kick turns, digging a snow pit, identifying terrain features, skier’s responsibility code, communication skills, mountain setup, identifying hazards, weather stations, patrol resources, avalanche prevention methods at Jackson and seeing what patrollers carry in their packs/vests.

To make sure the STOKE was on BLAST for this event, Team Unicorn – the very best from the JHMR Ski Patrol squad – found teams on the mountain and provided hot cocoa complete with whipped cream & sprinkles!

This event had 65 participants, 21 volunteers and 14 pro patrollers making it the largest Junior Ski Patrol event we’ve hosted!

Lunch was in the Olympic Room at base area and consisted of everyone’s favorite: Lasagna & pasta! Plus fruit, veggies and salad!

To top off lunch, Jen Calder, led up a demonstration on how avalanche air bags work. We pulled multiple bags that caused the group to explode in laughter.

Next up, the teams proceeded to their Buried Treasure Hunt locations that were spread throughout the base area. 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 cinnamon rolls & brownies.

After the treasure hunt, all teams headed to the top of Bridger gondola for the Avy Dog demonstration. There were many areas for the teams to explore including a burial situation and practice holes. Many of the girls were surprised to see a person could be buried there and couldn’t wait to try out the dog hole for themselves! Girls were allowed to meet the dogs and greet them with pets. Remember when encountering working dogs on the mountain – always ask before greeting them.

The afternoon was filled with more free skiing and anytime patrol skills. Teams took advantage of the snow conditions and special privileges of skiing with patrollers such as cutting the tram line. Perks of the job!

At 3:45pm, all teams gathered for wrap up which included certificates for completing the day and a sweet swag bag filled with goodies from Clif Bar, Gogo Squeez, High Fives Foundation, and the National Ski Patrol Association. The best treat of all was the patrollers serenading the girls and parents with a JHSP favorite song, Two Boards:

Two boards upon cold powder snow, YOH HO!

The craziest song that I know

Two boards upon cold powder snow, YOH HO!

What else does a Troll need to know

 

A very special thank you to the members of the Jackson Hole community who helped bring this program to JHMR. In particular, Kit Deslauriers, who I met in Colorado last year and personally reached out to JHMR on our behalf. Stellar JHMR Marketing & Event masters: Jess McMillian & Amy Jimmerson for their support and solid communication. Betsy Manero, SheJumps Regional Coordinator in Wyoming who helped coordinate the magic locally. Patrollers Jen Calder and Jen Cashen who dialed in curriculum, mountain logistics and communication to the JHSP team. WE DID IT! High fives all around!

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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!

 

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

 

National Partners:

National Ski Patrol Association

CLIF

Adventure Medical Kits

Gogo Squeez

 

Event Partners:

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Jackson Hole Ski Patrol

Doug Coombs Foundation

Jackson Hole Babe Force