By Sarah Schrock
Daylight Saving (not savings) Time was first implemented in WWI by the Germans and later adopted by Great Britain. After the war, it was repealed and re-instituted again during the Second World War by most of the Western world. Again, after the war, it was repealed and then left to the states or local jurisdictions to decide their time zones, creating what some historians call the “chaos of the clocks” until the 1960s when a national standard was adopted, though Arizona and Hawaii do not observe the time change. Many think it was a rural movement to bolster farm production, but rather, its support came from an urban urge to save energy in summer months and take advantage of the longer days.
November is a transitional month. The darkness naturally pulls us inward, a time to reflect on ourselves while we anticipate the dawning of the holidays and the beckoning of winter. For the volunteer members of the Loup Loup Ski Patrol, November means getting refreshed on our skills for the upcoming season.
While most of you probably slept through the ordeal of the time change, relishing one extra hour of sleep, 30-plus ski patrol members headed up early in the morning to the Loup for two days of hands-on training in emergency outdoor rescue skills. Known as “the refresher” by the National Ski Patrol, patrollers are required to finish online, written and hands-on modules in first responder scenarios ranging from triage protocols for multiple-causality events, life-saving CPR, child birth, internal injuries, broken limbs, poisoning, puncture wounds, amputations and perhaps the most dreaded, albeit the least gruesome, of all scenarios: chairlift evacuation.
Out of 18 years of operation at the Loup, the chair has only had two evacuations that anyone can remember, so chances are low that it will happen to you. But in the event of a mechanical failure, the entire lift operator staff, general management and ski patrol are ready to self-rescue and evacuate the lift. This scenario involves ski patrol members rappelling themselves from the chair and then assisting in lowering of guests down with a specialized straddle seat that hangs like a pendulum from the cable above the chair. The ratio of guests to rescuer is 1:2 in this scenario, so the more trained personnel for an evacuation, the better.
Each October, the Loup Loup Ski Patrol conducts an entrance course for new patrollers including junior patrollers who can start at age 15, and there’s always a need for new patrollers, regardless of age. This year’s junior candidates include high-schoolers Sally Thornton-White, Lazo Gitchos and Leo Shaw. The patrol is composed of all volunteer members, but despite not getting paid, benefits include complimentary family passes or day tickets for friends and regional reciprocity with Northwest ski areas, meaning we ski for free at other areas. Loup Loup Ski patrollers are members of the National Ski Patrol, which benefits from standardized first responder training and deals with vendors.
During this divisive, political season, one of the unseen benefits of ski patrol is the rare bond that forms across political, religious and geographic boundaries. Hailing from both sides of Okanogan divide, we are one patrol, with a passion for the sport, and a single mission. We represent farmers and ranchers, teachers, artists, business owners, EMTs, white-collar professionals, body workers, health care professionals, tradesman and women, and oddballs like myself who wear many hats. We practice different faiths, or none at all. We eat meat, gluten or not, or are vegetarian. Democrat, Republican or Independent, on the mountain we wear red, with a unifying white cross. And we all get along to perform our job together. Just imagine if Congress had ski patrol training?