Now that things are settling down with planning for or Senior On and Off Hill evaluations for
this winter, I want to honor Awards Advisor Virginia Rodeman’s request and talk about awards.
National Ski Patrol has two general classifications of awards Outstanding and Merit.
Outstanding Awards recognize individuals and patrols that have performed at exceedingly high
levels for the past four years (including the current year) in multiple categories. Merit Awards
are presented for some act of service to the NSP or using NSP training.
The most important thing to remember when nominating an individual or a patrol for an award
is that these are National Ski Patrol Awards for Service to the National Ski Patrol not to the local
A patroller who teaches tobogganing to patrollers at XYZ Ski Patrol, never misses a shift,
treats every patient with expert care and works with area management to improve local
procedures is an outstanding member of the XYZ Ski Patrol.
The same patroller, who teaches patrollers from other patrols to teach tobogganing,
teaches emergency care in classes for multiple patrols and shares new procedures with
other patrols is an outstanding patroller beyond the patrol level and may be eligible for
Region, Division and National Recognition. The scope of the activity makes the
Merit Stars are awarded for a specific service to the National Ski Patrol.
NSP offers several Merit Stars to recognize members:
The green merit star is involved in hazardous rescue
The purple merit stars and blue merit stars are involved in medical
lifesaving. Per the Central Division Awards Manual:
o Is Awarded to the individual primarily responsible for saving a life
using emergency care.
o Save means this patient would have died on the spot; not this
patient could have died later.
o Getting a patient to advanced medical treatment within the “golden
hour” does not constitute an immediate lifesaving procedure Primarily responsible for outstanding support roles in saving a life, Or
primarily patroller who attempts to save a life, but does not meet the
Purple Merit Star criteria.
The yellow merit stars (and the most complicated stars) are involved in
medical lifesaving situations and in special non-medical service to the NSP.
o Someone serving on a Division Committee will qualify for a Division
Certificate of Appreciation while the Committee Chair Person may qualify for
a Yellow Merit Star.
The Distinguished Service Award comes in two flavors. The first is awarded to patrollers near
the end of their career who have contributed to the NSP (above the local patrol) over a long
period of time. They may have been the person in the background making everything happen
rather than leading the charge or the instructor teaching OEC, Avalanche or MTR class or
refresher modules over a long period. The second variety is for non-patrollers or entities
making a significant contribution to the NSP. For Example, the resort manager (or resort) who
opens their facilities to NSP activities such as on and off hill training, meetings, seminars, etc.
over many years could be recognized with a DSA.
The most misunderstood awards are the National Appointment and Leadership Commendation
Appointment. (These are basically the same award with the National Appointment being
awarded to Senior Alpine and Nordic or Certified Patrollers while the DSA is awarded to Senior
Patrollers) These are honorary awards that cannot be earned through any specific activities. I’m
including Central Division Awards Advisor Gregg Reese’s notes regarding Appointments at the
end of this Ramblings.
OK, I hear the comments, we are not in this for the recognition, we are patrollers because we
enjoy skiing and helping others. In all my years as a ski patrol administrator, PD, Section Chief,
RD and Awards Advisor I’ve never seen anyone that was unhappy to be recognized for a job
well done. Now is the time to look around your patrol and see who should be recognized, the
deadline for the “Merit” type awards is just a month away. This deadline is dictated by the
processing time required by Division and National for the award to be presented at our May 2nd
Awards Banquet. Outstanding Award Applications are due a couple weeks later.
Please see the Central Division Awards Manual at http://www.nspcentral.org/awards.php for
detailed information on all NSP and Central Division Awards.
Senior Training and Evaluations:
I’m not sure where the season has gone but here we are less than two weeks from the Senior
On-hill evaluation at Nub’s Nob. ARD John Wiley and Toboggan Advisor Annaka Norris are feverishly preparing for this event plus the annual Toboggan Enhancement Seminar to be held
January 31st at Boyne Highlands. These two individuals are doing triple duty planning and
executing the on-hill events and covering several open staff positions. My profound thanks to
both of them of everything they are doing this season. Please let’s make it as easy as possible
for them and not make any more changes or special requests regarding either of these events.
Rod Kivell and Megan Thompson are preparing for the two winter OEC Events. The OEC Module
of Senior Program included a Clinic and a final evaluation. The clinic allows candidates to
complete most or all of the required “On the Snow Practice Scenarios” plus get crucial feedback
from evaluators. Both these events require significant staffing. Each Scenario requires two
senior evaluators, one or two patients and at least two trained patrollers to assist with
treatment. Needless to say, the more help we have the better experience candidates will have.
The skills required for either of these evaluations are the skills we use every day delivering
services to customers. On-hill covers all the skills needed to get to and evacuate patients from
anywhere on the resort including groomed, un-groomed and moguled terrain. The OEC Module
includes the same emergency care everyone learned in OEC Class applied to multi-patient or
multi-injury scenarios where the candidate must properly manage the scene while providing
proper emergency care.
Notes on National Appointments:
The following is Central Division’s Awards Advisor, Gregg Reese’s email about National
Appointments. Gregg also provided examples of five applications that were rejected with notes
on modifications and final resolution. Please contact me for a copy of the samples.
Northern Michigan Region DirectorCentral Division Notes on National Appointments
CENTRAL DIVISION AWARDS LETTER #5- APPOINTMENTS
This e-mail is going to deal with Appointments.
They are the National Appointment and the Leadership Commendation Appointment.
First and foremost, to understand what an Appointment means, we have to start with what the
National Ski Patrol itself stands for. This is what your submitting sponsors, their patrol reps, and
your awards committee members must understand:
We all know that most ski patrollers in the United States belong to a specific ski patrol (or local
We all know that the ski patrol has been asked to exist and is supported by the management of
the ski area it represents.
We also all know that those individuals who are invited to join that patrol will spend a great
amount of time performing services for their ski area such as first aid, emergency
transportation of area guests, crowd control, community events, or fund raising activities as
agents of management of that local unit.
These patrollers represent their ski areas as agents of management.
Over the past 75 years, many patrols throughout the world and the United States along with
their patrollers have chosen to become members of the National Ski Patrol (NSP), a nonprofit
organization specializing in education and training members of the outdoor emergency care
HERE IS THE FIRST PROBLEM:
Patrollers in many cases do not know that their local patrol and the National Ski Patrol are two
completely different things.
The NSP has a clearly defined Statement of Purpose outlining its Core Values, Vision, and
The Core Values consist of:
"excellence, service, camaraderie, leadership, integrity, and responsiveness"
The Vision Statement of the NSP is: "to be recognized as the premier provider of training and education programs for emergency
rescuers who serve the outdoor recreation community."
The Mission Statement of the NSP states:
"The National Ski Patrol is a member-driven professional organization of registered ski patrols,
patrollers and others, both paid and volunteer. The NSP supports its members through
credentialed education and training in leadership, outdoor emergency care, safety and
transportation services, which enables members to serve the community in the safe enjoyment
of outdoor recreation."
The NSP has also established an Awards Program to recognize excellence in service to the NSP
programs and its Core, Vision, and Purpose
This is all leading up to two of our most prestigious Awards- National Appointments, and
Leadership Commendation Appointments.
A very important thing to remember is that most of our patrollers consider the bestowal of a
National or Leadership Commendation Appointment as the highest honor they can ever receive
in the NSP.
Imagine the anger and disappointment of a patroller who has invited friends and family to a
gathering expecting to receive an Appointment only to find out that he or she has been denied.
This has happened in the past too often even though the Central Division Awards Manual and
the NSP Policies and Procedures both specifically state:
“The nomination of a member for an Appointment must occur without the nominee’s
knowledge- this must be done without the Nominee’s knowledge from the moment it is
written-up until the moment of presentation to that nominee”
Still, some patrollers provide information and assist sponsors in writing their own nominations.
Sometimes this is a difficult thing to determine, but we have to constantly be careful.
For this to happen is wrong and beyond the spirit of what patrolling and our awards are all
The reason I am going on and on about this is because these recognitions are so important.
There are always questions surrounding qualifications for getting Appointments. It seems that
every single patroller and every single patrol rep has different rationales as to what qualifies for
these awards. Every year, some sponsors and patrol reps complain that these should be
automatic awards if their nominee has met minimum requirements over a minimum time
period. They have also maintained that work done locally that does not relate to NSP programs
should be recognized by the NSP.
A Patroller with an Appointment is an individual who has demonstrated leadership, good
character, diplomacy, a positive attitude, good judgment, exemplary qualities of patrolling ability, a genuine desire to serve the skiing public, and extraordinary service to the NSP. These
are not just good guys. These people have really done good stuff.
Instructing alone is also not leadership - Instructor of Record is leadership. These leaders don’t
just show up to help; they are organizers - they get things going.
Just because a patroller has been on a patrol for a long time and has worked refreshers is not
enough. Just because a patroller has had perfect attendance for 15 years is not enough.
Receiving an Appointment is not something for which a Patroller—volunteer or paid—can work
or plan. A Patroller does not apply for an Appointment. The Appointment should be overdue
rather than premature, but tenure alone is never an adequate criterion. Just because a patroller
has been around a long time and may have done something a long time ago (and nothing since)
is not an adequate reason for an Appointment. An Appointment is also not intended to be a
retirement award. At the same time, if a person has done something really good for a short
time, there is nothing wrong with waiting for a while and seeing how the person continues to
perform. How many times have each of you seen a person work hard for a short time, get an
Appointment, and suddenly fall off the face of the earth.
Nominees must have served a minimum of eight ski seasons as an active member of the
National Ski Patrol (candidate years do not count) and a minimum of 12 months has elapsed
since completing all requirements for NSP Senior or NSP Certified classification, can the
submission be considered
Now I am going to discuss the area on the submission form that is always the bone of
contention from sponsors.
This is the infamous section 6 on the form where your sponsors fight you tooth and nail.
a. Beyond the patrol level: (region, division, national)
b. And/Or serving two or more ski seasons as an exceptional certified instructor in a program
beneficial to the NSP:
Number of seasons
Course descriptions and
c. And/Or exceptional performance as NSP patrol representative (explain):
This is what you have to make sure your sponsors, patrol reps, and judging committee
Whether the nominee is submitted in category a, b, c or a combination of them, we have to see
documented ongoing NSP leadership both past and present.
In Section 6a on the form we need to see documented past and present positions- names and
dates. It helps to show how many patrollers have been affected by the nominee’s leadership in
a program, not just that the nominee had a position.
In Section 6b on the form we need to see past and present leadership as not just an instructor,
but as documented Instructor of Record Involvement. Involvement strictly at patrol level is isolated and not beneficial to growth in the NSP's credentialed program knowledge and
delivery. Today, with the rapidly changing world of information technology, leadership should
be associated with organizing, directing and supporting NSP credentialed programs while
growing with them through constant enhancement. This means documenting positions and
documenting dates. As above, it helps to state how many patrollers have been affected by the
nominee’s leadership in testing and training.
In Section 6c Central Division needs documented information and dates where the nominee
showed exceptional performance as an NSP Patrol Representative. This may include new
programs established for the patrol, negotiations with management that have enhanced the
patrol, or other ski area concerns. This should not simply be a short term elected position that
the person has held and completed.