Ski patrollers are the most important people at any ski resort. The services they provide are beyond value. Patrollers perform avalanche safety, save lives and limbs, reset boundaries ropes and signage after every storm, decide what can be skied each day, answer an onslaught of questions, work long hours, handle high explosives, rope people off broken chairlifts, fire canons, train dogs to save you, and ski like demons. Patrollers spend everyday on the mountain making sure you’re as safe as possible.
What’s fascinating is that we don’t pay nor treat ski patrollers very well here in the US of A.
Most ski patrollers in the USA make about $10 per hour their first year and hopefully make about $20 per hour once they’ve been around a long time. They generally receive no benefits, no holiday pay, and have to work over 48 hours per week to acquire overtime pay.
Most ski patrollers are only employed about 4 months per year. It’s a big job with huge responsibilities that requires a big sacrifice.
Considering all that patrollers do for us and for ski resorts, do we think we should pay them and treat them better? What can ski patrollers do to improve their situation?
Last March, Telluride ski resort’s ski patrollers voted to unionize. They voted 47-1 in favor of unionization. Telluride joins Crested Butte, Steamboat, and The Canyons as unionized ski patrollers.
Is this the first step towards improving pay, benefits, and treatment of ski patrollers is the USA? We certainly hope so. We’d love to see ski patrollers compensated and treated fairly for the work they do. They’re the most valuable people on the mountain.