CORNER BROOK Before he even hopped off the Governor’s Express chairlift at the top of Marble Mountain, Brandon Graves wanted to be a ski patroller.
When he and his family, visiting from Bedford, Nova Scotia, saw that members of the Humber Dorset Zone of the Canadian Ski Patrol had a display set up at the ski hill’s summit Saturday morning, it caught his attention.
So, the 11-year-old went over and, before he knew it, Marble Mountain’s ski patrol crew were giving him a first aid lesson in how to stabilize an injured arm.
Having showed him only once, he was able to easily recite exactly what to do when the ski patrollers turned to Graves’ eight-year-old brother Brett to demonstrate the same technique on him.
“Even before this, I wanted to be in the ski patrol,” Graves said before zipping safely back down the slopes. “I saw them doing their job on the hill before and it looked fun.”
Of course, he knows being a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol is not all fun and games. Their job is to be ready to respond to real emergencies anywhere on the mountain at any given time.
“They are really important,” said Graves. “If we didn’t have them, then somebody could get hurt on the hill and other people wouldn’t know what to do. This is a good hill with some hard slopes, so we really need the ski patrol here.”
Tara Noseworthy, president of the Humber Dorset Zone ski patrol squad, said the “Safety Skillz” program they were doing at Marble Mountain on Saturday was indeed to let people know that a fun day on the slopes starts with safety first.
For about three hours, patrollers were offering tips on how to prevent injuries, how to recognize concussion symptoms should someone hit their head while on the hill and how to administer first aid to typical injuries that happen on ski slopes.
“We were talking about things like wearing your helmet correctly, staying in control while skiing or snowboarding and following the alpine responsibility code,” said Noseworthy.
The ski patrol also provided healthy snacks, face painting for kids and held a prize draw for a helmet, all thanks to the generosity of their community partners.
Gilda Saunders, safety officer with the ski patrol at Marble, said Saturday’s activities were a great way to raise awareness about the Canadian Ski Patrol’s services.
“It’s important to let the community know what the ski patrol does, not just on the hill, but off the hill too because we do volunteer off the hill at different sports events,” she said, noting that the majority of ski patrollers are volunteers.