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Salute to Service: Whitefish Mountain Resort Ski Patrol - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Salute to Service: Whitefish Mountain Resort Ski Patrol

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WHITEFISH - We went up to Whitefish Mountain Resort to find out all the work that goes into preparing the mountain and making it safe for visitors for this Salute the Service report.

At the crack of dawn, the Whitefish Mountain Resort ski patrol team meets for some stretching followed by a 15-minute meeting discuss certain tasks before skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes. 

“We cover avalanche concerns for the day any events that are going on any particular projects we want to take care of first thing in the morning before we have our guests on the mountain,” said patrol manager David Stephens.

He then disperses the patrollers around the mountain to various duties ranging from moving the pads up on the chairlift poles to going around the mountain putting caution signs ups and making sure all the signs and boundary lines are visible. 

“Everybody gets a break down of what’s expected of them and then 8:15-8:20 we head out for our day,” Stephens said. 

The patrol also showed us how a typical call would go if someone where injured. The dispatch would hear the call from a patroller at the scene and send someone out of the patrol hut and down the run with a toboggan.

Once the patroller arrives, they ask a number of questions to evaluate the injured skier or snowboarders. If the person is injured they are taken down the mountain and to the clinic at the base.

While speaking to Stephens he said rescues that save someone’s life are one of the main reasons he does this job, as he reminisced on one of his best days on the job. 

“Finally, able to reach her late in the evening and was able to bring her out just before midnight on Christmas eve moving into Christmas day and once again that was just a really rewarding experience.”

Stephens also says one of the best parts of the job is how close everyone on the patrol, or as he refers to as his second family, is. 

“It’s a very close-knit group of professionals that’s very dedicated and just really cares about mountain safety. And taking of care of our guests here at Whitefish Mountain Resort.”

Stephens has been the patrol manager for four years now.

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