With the snow season just around the corner, Lake Mountain Ski Patrol (LMSP) is recruiting additional volunteers to help look after the thousands of weekend day trippers who head to the resort each winter for some fun in the snow.

To be well prepared for the season, the patrol’s 2015 training weekend will be held at Lake Mountain on the weekend of June 13 and 14 and prospective volunteers are invited to attend.

LMSP2Patrol captain, Tim Hatten, an avid skier and outdoor enthusiast from Healesville, said patrollers need to be 18 years and older, have a good level of fitness and be competent skiers. They are also required to have a minimum Level 2 first aid qualification, added Tim who is manager of the Millgrove Outdoor Education Centre.

Ski patrol is an integral part of the resort operations keeping the mountain safe for visitors, providing first aid services and general advice to the public and assisting with searches if the need arises. Paid patrollers look after the resort from Monday to Friday and volunteers cover the busy weekend period.

The importance of LMSP is highlighted by the fact that Lake Mountain is the closest alpine resort to Melbourne, attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year.

“Ski patrol volunteers do an incredible job looking after our visitors and keeping the mountain safe,” said Scott Gamble, the resort manager for Belgravia Leisure which took on the management of the resort in 2013.

The patrol is an exceptionally important part of our operations and, if we are doing our job well in attracting visitors to the resort, then there is a great flow-on of benefits to the local Marysville triangle region,’ Scott said.

LMSP comprises a group of dedicated volunteers who come from all walks of life and share a passion for the snow and the outdoors. The patrol is based in a modern first aid facility at the resort with a range of state-of-the-art equipment.

Wearing their highly visible red ski patrol jackets and first aid packs, a typical day on the mountain sees patrollers rotate between the base, the extensive network of ski and snow shoe trails, toboggan slopes and other resort facilities.

Ski patrolling is a great way to volunteer because, not only are you helping out, but you get to ski in a beautiful environment and work as a team, and have fun, with like-minded people,” said Bronwyn Howell, a teacher from Alexandra who joined LMSP in the mid 1990s.

Jesse Siebler, who grew up in Taggerty but is now based Melbourne, returns regularly as a ski patroller.

“I joined the patrol because I love skiing, and the challenge of being a ‘first-responder’,” enthused Jesse who works for Melbourne Water and recently attained certification from the Australian Ski Patrol Association (ASPA).

“The patrol is made up of a great bunch of very experienced people … I am really looking forward to this season … ASPA was the best training course I’ve ever done and I’m keen to put it into practice.”

For Metropolitan Fire Brigade senior station officer and fire fighter Mac Hanson, 2015 will be her ninth season at Lake Mountain. Unlike other resorts, Lake Mountain is close enough for her to patrol for a single day as she is unable to commit to full weekends because of her demanding work roster.

“Ski patrol gets me out of the city and exercising in the fresh air of the hills,’ said Mac. “And, there is such a great mix of people on patrol.”

MFB does ‘Emergency Medical Response’ with Ambulance Victoria, but, as Mac explained, it is only to patients who are unconscious/not breathing … “It is nice to have live patients for a change!”

“Being part of the patrol is an ongoing challenge as you can always learn more about skiing and first aid and do things better.”

The perks of being part of ski patrol include free entry to Lake Mountain and on-mountain accommodation on rostered weekends.

For those interested in becoming a volunteer patroller, please contact Catherine Sutton, LMSP Secretary on 0403 146 378/ ccrsutton@gmail.com

(For further information, please contact Sandra Bucovaz on 0401 617 122 or 03 5967 3074)