The Mad River Glen Ski Patrol is comprised of group of professional and a dedicated cadre of volunteer patrollers. They are committed to keeping the Mad River Glen community as safe as possible. We thank them for their commitment and everything they collectively bring to our community.
Mad River Glen Ski Patrol Continues Founders Tradition
An excerpt from Mad River Glen’s history by Mary Kerr available in The General Store
Ski Patrol Director John Ayers echoed the words of the nine directors who preceded him when in April 2008 he declared, “This is the greatest group of people I have ever worked with. These special individuals, by building on a tradition of outstanding camaraderie, together create an incredible organization, an immense love of the mountain.
“No other mountains can compare. This is a ski hill; every place else is a ski resort- big difference. Mad River continues to embrace the ski hill.
“We are always open to anybody who wants to get involved. Our patrollers are self-motivated and self-educationing.
You have to want to be learning. We help one another.
“At Mad River Glen, egos are left at the door,” John proudly declares, as he identifies several highly placed professionals on his crew. “They may wield enormous sway in their professional lives. On duty as patrolmen they are just one of the team.”
As in the past the MRG unit continues to receive accolades. In 2005 the National Ski Patrol awarded a Unit Citation to MRG’s men and women in “recognition and acknowledgment of being the 2004-2005 Outstanding Large Ski Patrol for the Eastern Division. They were beaten out for the national award by Park City who had hosted the Olympics that year.
Nine members have received National Appointments. These NSP appointments are awarded to individuals who demonstrate leadership, good character, diplomacy, a positive attitude, good judgment, unusual qualities of patrolling ability, a genuine desire to serve the skiing public and extraordinary service. Another NSP member nominates the recipient.
“Not much has changed,” according to John. “Our focus, however, has extended our training to off-piste rescues to incorporate situations involving skiing in the woods.”
No longer are patrollers tied down or dependent on specific telephone stations.
The use of two-way radios by all on-duty patrol has reduced accident response time from twenty to thirty MRG Ski Patrol Continues Founder’s Tradition minutes to single digits. Except for the personnel stationed one at the top of each lift, the other twenty-three are free to ski the entire mountain on and off piste, where they are more accessible to the skiing public.
The average age of the forty-seven volunteers and ten professionals is forty-seven years, most of whom have served for many seasons. Volunteers must serve at least twenty days each season to qualify as staff.
“As our awards prove, our knowledge is deeper than it used to be. Our training has increased three fold in first aid and emergency response.
“Within three years of joining the staff, members must achieve senior level patrol status through rigorous exams in sled/toboggan handling, skiing and first aid skills plus a successful run of a complicated trauma accident.”
John credits the low incidence of accidents at MRG to the difficult terrain and limited uphill capacity. “These factors” he notes, “slow skiers down, thus preventing collisions which are the number one source of accidents throughout the industry. “Other areas reporting 1,000 or more accidents seasonally marvel at our low accident rate.”
John came to MRG in 1983 and began patrolling just three years after learning to ski at Pennsylvania’s Peak n Peak. His graduate degree in Special Education and Counseling holds him in good stead at The River, he muses.
Mad River Patrol is Particular
By Hugh Witham – An excerpt from Mad River Glen’s history by Mary Kerr available in The General Store
The Mad River Glen Ski Patrol was organized late in 1948 under the watchful eye of Howard Moody, the area Assistant Manager and a dedicated patrolman of many years experience. He set up the mainstay of the Patrol system that included a separate Patrol Room that provided privacy for those who were hurt and a place where the resident doctors could care for accident victims. It was even equipped with bunks and X-ray machine—almost unheard of in those days.
A telephone network and a series of toboggan caches were installed over the entire mountain. It was mandatory that each patrolman be a strong, steady skier who could handle any trail on the mountain under any and all conditions. But even more important than being a competent skier was an ability to bring down a toboggan from any spot on the mountain.
Moody’s dedication caught on, and even though it was a volunteer patrol, each man was determined to make it the best patrol in the East. At first it was a local group made up of people from the Mad River Valley, Montpelier, and Burlington. In 1951 the first contingent of out-of-staters took their place on the roster including Truxton Pratt, who later purchased MRG in 1972, and others who organized the Ski Clubs who would build lodges at the base.
The boys from Montclair, New Jersey were to be seen everywhere. Shortly another group from Hartford became regulars. By 1955 there were probably more out-of-staters than Vermonters. Once on the mountain,however, it made little difference where one was from. To a man there were two thoughts in mind – lots of skiing and, more important, a strictly business attitude toward accidents.
Hawley Slayton was patrol leader for our first two seasons. In 1950 Allen Clark assumed the responsibility and served until 1957. It was during this period that the MRG Patrol received the USEASA Safety Trophy.
The award was announced at the 1955-1956 Patrol Banquet. The citation is presented annually to the patrol that has made an outstanding contribution to patrol work. Since 1957 Howard Carr has ably carried on with a volunteer patrol. During this period the number of trails has more than doubled, yet full coverage has been maintained.
The protocol for managing an accident has been worked out so that each is handled with tender dispatch. The “Toboggan side” manner developed by some patrolmen rivals the bedside manner of the best doctors. The professional approach is akin to a hospital.
Supporting the patrol is a group of weekend resident doctors from the Green Mountain Clinic in Northfield. Two of these, Dr. Edgar R. Hyde and Dr. Scott Pedley, were the first to wear the emblem “Honorary Ski Patrol.” Aside from being on hand to take over the responsibility in the Patrol Room, these doctors have been available for individual or group discussion how to do the best possible job of getting a victim of an accident safely and comfortably off the mountain.
The patrol at MRG is a fraternity dedicated to skiing as a safe sport. May it ever be so.