Park City Mountain Resort, UT has released their decision to no longer continue their program with the volunteer based National Ski Patrol (NSP). They sent an email explaining their decision to volunteers and paid patrollers this last week.
“As our resort has grown significantly over the past few years, and in order to deliver our vision for the guest experience, we have decided to staff and further develop our patrol program using only employees and eliminating the NSP volunteer patrol program,” said Senior Ski Patrol Manager Bill Gray in an email.
The local Newspaper, the Park Record, reports that the announcement has come as a surprise to the nearly 90 volunteer patrollers who help staff the mountain during its busiest weekends and holidays. The areas director for the NSP, Michael Cook, said he was not given advanced notice before the staff email and has expressed his disappointment with the decision.
“I’ve been doing this almost 40 years. This is a significant group of ski patrollers that represent almost 800 years of ski patrolling experience.”- Michael Cook
The greater community has also expressed their dismay.
The union representing the resort’s paid patrollers, the Park City Professional Patrol Association has expressed that they have seen the volunteer patrollers as part of the family. President Robby Young said the volunteers have been a critical asset to the patrol team.
“The volunteer patrol has been with us for a long time. They are certainly part of our ski patrol family, our community, and a big part of our history and culture. It’s disappointing to see that program come to an end, just because we appreciate how much help those guys do for us.”
Park City has issued statements saying that the positions previously held by volunteers will now be paid positions as resort employees. Volunteers are welcome to apply for the paid positions and become part of the resorts team. The resort has led a question and answer meeting for employees, however no further explanation was given to the cut in the program.
The Park City patrol director said that the task of filling these positions will not be easy, especially considering all of the tasks that the volunteers have typically helped with including: training new patrollers, running annual medical seminars, filling in during the resorts busiest times and showing up before the season officially starts to help with set up.
The National Ski Patrol is a nonprofit organization, deriving its primary financial support from membership dues, donations, user fees, and corporate sponsorships. The organization is composed of more than 27,000 patrollers serving over 650 patrols.