Ski patrol has historically gotten a reputation of being fascist snow pigs, the bad guys, the ones out to steal your fun. In reality ski patrollers are usually pretty cool people. They are pretty cool people who Love Skiing. They love it more than you do, why else would one give up all their time and energy to get a low paying job. They do not want to take your pass. Their job is to make sure everyone is having the best and safest experience possible.

So you have gotten stopped by a patroller for breaking the rules, what should you do?


When you get stopped by a patroller, you only need to know one thing and one thing only.


The moment you get defensive or accusatory… that you did not duck the rope that you know you ducked. You are making the patrollers job much harder, they obviously caught you doing something you shouldn’t and more than likely they are just going to educate you, especially if you present as nice and apologetic….(Even if you don’t care).


Let’s just start off by stating the obvious, DO NOT EVER DUCK A ROPE INTO CLOSED AVALANCHE TERRAIN. One you could die, two you could endanger the lives of the patrollers who might be doing explosive work in that terrain and three, if you get caught…. and you will, you could not only lose your pass, but also get arrested and heavily fined.

With that being said, given all the situations we have just mentioned. If you get stopped by a patroller for doing something you weren’t supposed to, don’t be defensive. Don’t try to prove them wrong. They know the mountain like the back of their hand and to have some pretentious kid or adult try to tell them otherwise is insulting. Admit to your wrong doing and apologize for it, if you fight, they will fight back. It’s pretty easy.  More than likely if you are not a jerk, you will get a slap on the wrist.

If you live in a mountain town, you probably know some patrollers, and they have probably told you they hate clipping passes. However, they are also prideful people and if you insult them, they have zero problem exercising their power.

In conclusion, if you find yourself in the situation of being stopped by a patroller for an infraction. Just be apologetic, they are skiers and riders who just love to be outside and help people, they aren’t power hungry fun police looking to reprimand you to bring up their moral self-esteem.

Thank you for coming to my TED TALK.


Images from National Ski Patrol Facebook