Southern Division Programs
There are currently 165 registered Alumni in the Southern Division of the National Ski Patrol. This is a wealth of experience, talent, knowledge and dedication. While the Alumni Program is certainly an excellent way to "retire" from active patrolling it also has the potential of a vast resource of needed skill and expertise to supplement the efforts of the "active" membership.

There is no doubt that your collective experience can substantially add to the current goals of the National Ski Patrol. There are many reasons to go "inactive" beside "retirement": family responsibilities, health issues, a move to the south seas, new additions to the family, job responsibilities and so on.

What are your ideas?
With your interest and help, additional value and enthusiasm can be added to a well-established Alumni Program. Your individual input is needed to grow the Alumni Program and your ideas will be appreciated. Some possible directions include:

  • A resource list of willing alumni that can be called upon from time to time to assist with specific projects and functions.
  • Alumni reunions, perhaps as part of the Divisional meetings.
  • Alumni participation in National Powerfall type events.
  • Involvement in fund raising on a local and corporate level, lobbying efforts and numerous other service projects.
  • Documenting your patrol experiences that add to the NSP history & heritage.
  • Alumni recognition and identification such as wearing apparel.
  • Alumni perks such as ski pass discounts.

If you are planning to visit an area where avalanche terrain regularly exists, you may want to enroll in the eight-hour Introduction to Avalanche Safety and Rescue course to learn the fundamental principles of avalanche hazards, safety, and rescue. This is particularly true if you are planning to ski/board outside of the controlled ski areas, where avalanches are more prevalent. This course also qualifies as an elective requirement for the NSP Senior Program.

The potential for avalanches exists wherever snow lies on steep slopes. It's not only an issue in "big mountain" areas. Avalanche problems are widespread in geography and degree of hazard. To meet the varying challenges represented by this avalanche danger, the NSP has established several avalanche training courses.

The NSP's avalanche courses fulfill all of the requirements of the Level I and Level II curricula adopted by the American Avalanche Association with one exception; the NSP courses include additional topics related to organized rescue. Please note that actual avalanche control work and rescue operations are under the direction and control of ski area management or other authorized agencies.

The NSP program includes the following courses:

  • Avalanche Awareness (About 30 to 90 minutes): If sufficient students and an instructor are available, this course can be taught just about anywhere at any time of the year. The current limitation is the availability of qualified instructors. This course is designed to expose its audience to the nature of avalanche hazards and the kinds of things they need to know before venturing into avalanche terrain. It serves primarily to develop respect for avalanche hazards and to encourage people enroll in an Introduction to Avalanche Safety and Rescue course. This course does not qualify as an elective requirement for the NSP Senior Program.
  • Introduction to Avalanche Safety and Rescue (About 8 hours). If sufficient students are available, this course is intended to be offered twice a year within the Division. Once at the Southern Division annual conference in Kingsport, TN in August and possibly at Massanutten or other northern patrol in the Spring of each year. This course introduces fundamental principles of avalanche hazards, safety, and rescue. This course does qualify as an elective requirement for the NSP Senior Program, but it does not meet Level 1 avalanche course standards and does not qualify as a prerequisite for enrollment in the Level 2 avalanche courses.
  • Level I Avalanche (Minimum of 24 hours with at least 60% taught in the field). This course is typically not available in Southern Division, since we currently do not have the instructors or equipment to teach the full curriculum. Please see the Eastern Division and Central Division training calendars for training opportunities.
  • Level II Avalanche (Minimum of 28 hours with at least 60% taught in the field). This course is definitely not available in Southern Division, since this course can only be taught in terrain that is prone to avalanches. Please see the Eastern Division training calendar for training opportunities, when it is held every other year at Whiteface/Lake Placid, NY in an area appropriately called “The Slides”.

Certified is a program that demands “…the highest level of proficiency from patrollers through training and testing and would promote a level of patrolling in which there would be no compromise with excellence in skiing, first aid, patrol management, administration and leadership.” — George Wesson [1921-2010], who developed the Certified Program for NSP and subsequently for Southern Division.

Visit the Southern Division Certified Program Page


Nothing is more important to the success of NSP's education programs than the cadre of hard-working instructors who deliver those programs. The NSP INstructor Develoment Programs consists of two components that provide training in course management as well as instruction, the Instructor Development course and a mentoring program.
This program includes the following courses:

  • Instructor Development Course
  • Instructor Mentoring Program

More Information

Instructor Development

Mountain Travel and Rescue
"Attendees taking Mountain Travel and Rescue (MTR) courses will learn a variety of skills, including nutrition and how the body performs in a wilderness environment, weather patterns, survival skills, working with group dynamics, an introduction to search and rescue, rope rescue skills, improvised toboggan construction, and land navigation with map, compass, and GPS. The MTR courses are taught in classroom and field sessions, including mock scenarios to ensure the attendees can apply what they have learned to real life situations.

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast looking to expand your survival and travel skills in the backcountry environment or a ski patroller preparing for one of the worst possible scenarios a parent can face at a ski area (a lost child), the MTR courses can help you get prepared."

— NSP Web Site
This program includes the following courses:

  • Mountain Travel and Rescue Fundamentals
  • Mountain Travel and Rescue 1 (MTR1)
  • Mountain Travel and Rescue 2 (MTR2)

"The diverse nature of the Nordic classification lends itself to be a unique program within the NSP. The variety of equipment types, the extended patient care knowledge required, the needed backcountry survival skills, all contribute to defining what Nordic patrollers are." — NSP Web Site

"The Senior Program is designed for NSP members who aspire to the upper levels of skiing/snowboarding and outdoor emergency care proficiency. It provides a forum in which patrollers can enhance personal skiing/snowboarding and toboggan-handling proficiency, improve their ability to manage OEC scenarios, and expand their patrolling knowledge and skills. The Senior Program is also excellent preparation for patrollers looking to move into leadership roles in the NSP." — NSP Web Site
Core modules differ by discipline, but may include:

  • Senior OEC
  • Senior Skiing
  • Senior Toboggan Handling


This program encompases Introduction to Ski Patrolling, the Senior Program, and the Certified Program—those programs that affect the registration categories of NSP members. As well, you will find information on the Mountain and Avalanche Awareness course, a multi-discipline introduction to backcountry awareness.
This program includes the following courses:

  • Introduction to Patrolling
  • Mountain and Avalanche Awareness
  • Senior Program (Alpine, Nordic, Auxiliary)
  • Certified Program (Alpine)
Skills Development

Unique to the National Ski Patrol, the Transportation Program offers guidelines for area management to use to set the standard of training for its patrollers who operate toboggans. From training of basic candidates to honing the skills of Transportation instructors, this program ensures training opportunities for members of the NSP.
This program includes the following courses:

  • Skiing Enhancement Seminar (Alpine/Nordic)
  • Toboggan Enhancement Seminar (Alpine/Nordic)
  • Ski Trainer's Workshop (Alpine/Nordic)
Transportation Program

"The National Ski Patrol supports the establishment of a Young Adult Program at every NSP registered Ski Patrol. You don’t know what you missing until you have experienced the benefits that a young adult program can provide. Click on the “establish a program” link to download the resources that you need to establish a successful program." — NSP Young Adult Program Site
NSP members and patrol candidates must be 15 years of age to qualify as Young Adult patrollers. Young Adult patrollers (age 15 through high school graduation) must meet the same requirements and fulfill the same patroller training and responsibilities as any other member of the patrol with the same skill set.
Young Adult Program