How to Become a

Ski Patrol

The complete career guide to be a Ski Patrol: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $21,930
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 6.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Working in ski patrol involves taking responsibility for various mountain safety tasks whether it is opening or closing mountain trails, reporting any hazards for patrons, reviewing conditions of every trail and providing emergency medical care. Such a job requires a highly skilled and trained skier or snowboarder.

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What is a Ski Patrol?


For effective ski patrol, you must serve important functions such as those given below:

  • Interact frequently with customers by providing useful and timely information on weather conditions and grooming to ensure an enjoyable experience for guests.
  • Make sure that all trail markings including bamboo poles, fences and ribbon are in good order and properly placed.
  • Monitor the terrain of the property for the purpose of maintaining it in accordance with existing state and federal regulations and laws for skiing safety.
  • Assess and correct or mark any perilous trail conditions that have been affected due to adverse weather or natural occurrences.
  • Ensure that the padding on objects like snow guns and sign posts are properly placed and at the appropriate height for customers to ski.

Day In The Life

A ski patroller’s role is to function as a first responder in the case of sick or injured patrons at a skiing property. This may involve managing the scene, i.e. diverting other skiers from the spot, then assessing and treating those injured. You are expected to transport the affected patient from the site of the accident to a medical care facility with the help of a vehicle or toboggan. Besides providing first aid, ski patrollers are also responsible for ensuring mountain safety.

During your day to day work, you will start off by conducting a sweep of the assigned property before it is open to public, with the aim of confirming that there are no problems. To this end, you must look closely at boundary rope lines, clear up anything obscuring the trails and repair broken signage. At the end of the working day, you will do a similar sweep to confirm that there are no customers still using the property before shutting down for the day. The fun and exciting part of this job is that you will also get to enjoy some skiing on the side! You will move around the terrain by either riding or skiing as a ski patroller.

Work Schedule

Employment in this sector is often seasonal, unless it is a mountainous area that maintains snow-clad terrain all year round. The peak timings for this job include holiday periods and weekends, when you may even work extra hours to increase capacity at the workplace. Employers look to accommodate preferred scheduling times or offer consecutive days off as compensation when possible. As a ski patroller, you are expected to arrive on time – often during early morning hours to assess the ski area’s safety before it is open to visitors. You should also be able to work in all kinds of weather conditions which include high winds, fog, heavy snow and extreme cold temperatures.

Growth Of The Job

Since 2004, employment available in this field has risen to 8.6% across the nation, with a growth rate of 1.44 percent every year. The demand for recreational protective service workers is expected to increase with many jobs to be filled by 2018, at an annual rate of 1.13% over the next few years.

Typical Employers

Working in ski patrol could be seasonal at resorts and other hospitality services e.g. Mountain Creek Resort, Mohawk Mountain Ski Area Inc., Copper Mountain Resort, etc. Some find alternate means of employment over summer months, doing work that requires similar skills such as ski patrolling. For instance, working in the medical or emergency services sector like a Lifeguard, Paramedic, Firefighter, etc.

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How To Become a Ski Patrol

The qualifications required for those aspiring to join the ski patrol industry vary widely, based on which mountain or ski area you want to work at. Having a high school diploma is preferable. At the basic level, you must be an adept skier or snowboarder. Some employers require you to also complete a course on Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). First responder courses like these are administered by National Ski Patrol (NSP). You can complete these courses one night a week for 2-3 months. Because of the physical demands of the work, you are expected to be in peak physical condition and able to react calmly under pressure.

Ski Patrol Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Ski Patrol salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Ski Patrol's can make an average annual salary of $21,930, or $11 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $17,980 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #801 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Ski Patrols

  • 1.2%   Doctorate
  • 4.1%   Masters
  • 21.8%   Bachelors
  • 10%   Associates
  • 26.4%   College
  • 30.3%   High School
  • 6.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Ski Patrol job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 9,500 jobs for a total of 150,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 6.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #334 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Ski Patrols

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 48,900 2,800 3%
Fitness and recreational sports centers 31,400 2,700 3%
Civic and social organizations 19,900 200 0%

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