Ski patrollers are some of the most important people at any ski resort. The brave and qualified individuals make sure that every skier who visits the mountain is safe, secure, and able to ski freely throughout the in-bounds areas. Ski Patrollers have to be great skiers in addition to experts on first aid, avalanche safety, and general safety rules.
With so many requirements and qualifications, you would think that being a member of the Ski Patrol would mean a pretty decent salary. After all, patrollers save lives almost every single day and without them, no skier would have true peace of mind on the mountain.
This article will take a look at how much ski patrollers make and some of the responsibilities they take on to make the mountain a safe place. Ski Patrol is easy to forget about, but they are very important. They deserve every penny they earn, and, in my opinion, they deserve a whole lot more.
What do Ski Patrollers Do?
If you’ve spent any time at a ski resort, you’ve certainly seen a ski patroller or two. They are easy to spot thanks to their usually brightly colored outfits that almost always have a big patrol cross on them. Many patrollers roam the slopes throughout the course of a ski day and are around to help, inform, and instruct any skiers on the mountain. A red uniform with a white cross is a common ski patrol uniform. However, they can wear other colors as well.
Safety is a ski patroller’s number one priority, and that comes in many forms. One is looking for bad or rough conditions. Even before the first ski lifts go up, patrollers scan the slopes for any obstacles such as rocks, branches, or other exposed areas that pose a threat to skiers.
Patrollers also help with avalanche control. Some are trained to launch explosive devices at potential avalanche areas, triggering a slide and making the area safe to ski again. That is a high-level skill that ensures all runs within the resort are safe. If avalanche danger is too high, patrollers will close off certain areas.
Ski patrollers also need to understand first aid. Skiers get injured every day. Though most accidents are minor, sometimes the skiers cannot get to help. In such situations, ski patrollers provide both first aid and medical help to those in need. That can include putting the skier in a sled and skiing them back to the bottom where they can receive better attention.
How Much do Ski Patrollers Make?
Now that we know what patrollers do, the next question is, how much do they make? Though with all of the required knowledge, you would think they would make the same as any other first responder that puts their life on the line, that’s not the case.
Typical pay for a ski patroller varies based on where they work and their personal experience level. A brand new patroller will make less than a seasoned veteran. According to Glassdoor, the average ski patroller wage is $12/hour, with the average range being between $10 and $15.
Some resorts do pay better than others. For instance, Aspen Skiing Company pays $23-26/hour and Park City Resort pays $15-16/hour. The starting wages are pretty low but patrollers will usually get a raise each year they work for the same resort. However, they do not get any additional benefits, such as health insurance or retirement considerations. They do get a ski pass, which is a nice bonus.
Some resorts offer a salary for their patrollers, and that sits around $23,000 to $28,000 a year. That’s the low yearly pay for any profession, especially one as important as ski patrol. However, most patrollers do not work year-round, which means they can supplement their income with a summer job.
Ski Patroller Appreciation
As you can see, ski patrollers do not make a lot of money. Most of them do their job because they understand how important it is. We should all be quite thankful that ski patrollers are willing to work as hard and long as they do. Never take a ski patroller for granted, even if you get in trouble when breaking the rules. They are just doing their job, and they definitely don’t get enough compensation for it.
The next time you see a patroller while out on the mountain, go up to them and say thank you. You’ll be surprised how far that small act of gratitude will go. Ski patrollers love to ski, just like you, and they love being appreciated. Support your local ski patrol by telling them how grateful you are for their service.
Do you know anyone who works on the ski patrol? Have you ever been rescued by the ski patrol? Let us know in the comments below!