Certified Patroller

National Ski Patrol Certified Program

The Eastern Division Certified program requires extensive study and preparation for candidates to be successful.  Some of the things that the candidates are required to do are:

  • Learn 8 knots so that you can tie them anytime, even in the dark.
    (this is a prerequisite before you can go onto the Low angle rescue station)
  • Set up a 1:3 low angle rescue in less than 20 minutes.
  • Lift Evac – the process (from alert to completion) – the protocols (types of rope, harnesses, belay methods) – Understanding lifts and how they work (brakes, towers, sensors and even how the haul rope is constructed) What is a haul rope? Come and find out!!!
  • Management Interview – Do you know how to staff a patrol, how much equipment you need on the hill, how much that equipment costs, how much lift evac equipment is required, and a whole lot more!!
  • Hill Safety Interview – Why do we use bamboo? What are the protocols for closing a trail? What are the requirements for snowmobiles on the hill?
  • Find an avalanche beacon in less that 3 minutes, obviously, learn how to use them.
    Sounds easy doesn’t it
  • OEC – practical – 3 patients, seriously injured – 20 minutes – triage, one problem as leader and two as helper.
  • OEC bystander – One patient – two bystanders – a scenario you cannot do without their help, oh by the way, they do not know any first aid. Your patient may need CPR – think about it – no patrol help for 20 minutes
  • OEC written – 100 questions
  • Avalanche written – 50 questions
  • Skiing and Toboggan – another story for when the snow flies

The schedule of events for the Certified program is found on the Eastern Division CALENDAR. The following information will give you access to all that you will need to know when considering the Certified Program, or if you are just curious about what the program is all about.

The Certified Program is a test of your patrolling capabilities and knowledge base.  It is a unique opportunity to learn from others, to broaden your experience and sharpen your skills. Through a series of specific steps a Certified Candidate is reviewed and qualified to participate in the annual Certified Test. The Certified Test is an intensive 3-day event that tests all aspects of a candidates patrolling skills. For more information view the — Requirements and program guide document

Email the Certified Program Advisor for more info.

The Certified Program consists of six modules:

  1. Area operations and risk management.
  2. Avalanche management.
  3. Emergency care.
  4. Rope rescue and lift evacuation.
  5. Skiing/snowboarding.
  6. Toboggan handling.

The program requires independent training and advanced research, and participants must complete all modules to receive certification.

Certified candidates must possess highly developed teamwork skills, because those who advance to the certified classification must be able to direct other patrollers during day-to-day services as well as multiple-casualty incidents. More important, they must have the attitude and ability to subordinate themselves to other leaders and be team players. The National Certified Committee strongly recommends that all patrollers complete the Senior Program before entering the Certified Program.

Certified candidates should possess extensive knowledge of patrol and ski area operations. The program requires candidates to demonstrate physical dexterity and skills in leadership, instruction, problem management, decision-making, and interpersonal communication. They also must have the ability, experience, and knowledge to develop various plans and programs that the Patrol or area management may need.

The information in this program may not be applicable to all situations that arise in the daily operations of a given ski area or center. NSP education programs and membership requirements should never conflict with or take priority over area management’s standard operation procedures and requirements for daily patrolling activities.

The materials in Chapter 12 of The Ski Patroller’s Manual, new as of the 1996-97 ski season, are subject to change. Always check with the Division Ski and Toboggan or Certified Program supervisor to obtain the most current information about the program. Tables 12.1 through 12.6 contain the essential content and performance criteria for each certified module.

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Certified Certification


  • Participation in a Division-authorized orientation or safety clinic on terrain and conditions approved for a certified clinic (pre-course)
  • Recommendation signature from Division Certified Program supervisor or designee
  • Completion of the NSP Senior Skiing component or a Division-approved equivalent
  • Certified Candidate Application – Page 1 and Page 2 (See form in Appendix J.)

Recommended Prerequisites

  • Completion of the NSP Level II Avalanche Course or an equivalent training curriculum comparable to lesson guides in the NSP Avalanche Instructor’s Manual
  • Completion of the NSP Senior OEC component or a Division-approved equivalent
  • Completion of the emergency care study guide (obtainable from the Division Certified Program supervisor)


  • National – none
  • Division – varies
  • Course – varies
  • Cost of materials


  • Certified Completion Form (verified and signed by the instructor of record for each module)
  • NSP Certificate of Achievement for each module (distributed by the instructor)

Continuing Education/Refresher

  • Certified Skiing and Toboggan Skills Re-certification (Administered within Division)
  • Completion of an evaluation of skiing skills at the Certified performance level on a Certified-rated hill once every three years
  • Completion of an evaluation of toboggan skills at the Certified performance level on a Certified-rated hill once every three years

Instructor of Record

  • Division Certified Program supervisor (or delegate)

See Chapter 12 of The Ski Patroller’s Manual, National Ski Patrol, 14th edition for information pertaining to the following Certified Modules:

  • Area Operations and Risk Management
  • Avalanche Management
  • Emergency Management
  • Rope Rescue and Lift Evacuation Management
  • Skiing (fixed heel, free heel, snowboard)
  • Toboggan Handling (fixed heel, free heel, snowboard)