Hello everyone! I would like to begin this post by thanking you for reading and introducing myself. My name is Becki Relihan and I work with the Patrol team at Blue Mountain Resort. The purpose of this post is to introduce you to our amazing team and to promote safety in a fun way … because, safety is sexy! Oops, I’m not sure if I can say that? Sorry marketing, but I am sticking to it!
Moving right along, I would like to start by telling you about the team and how we work. We have a lot of moving parts within the Patrol Services department. Kama Lee and I co-manage the department and Dillon Fremlin is our Director of Risk Management. The three of us are often misunderstood and called “the fun police.” People think we don’t like to have fun since we always enforce the rules. However, I would like to reassure you that we LOVE to have fun (see the below photograph). We even took pics for the gram because we know if you don’t do that then, did it happen? NOPE!
The real stars of the show are our front-line team of Patrollers and Patrol Supervisors. They are really YOUR team, who is out there repping the crosses, making sure the trails are open, and coming to get you when you fall or need a hand. Our Patrol team consists of both a summer and winter crew. The winter team is about 5 times the size of the summer one – approximately 110 vs. 20! While the operation of the two seasons is much different in size, our daily tasks and department goals remain the same: promote safety, prevent risk & injury, and render first aid when necessary.
The daily duties of the Patroller change regularly and can include an array of different tasks. This is usually the aspect of the job that draws people to the first response industry … you never know what is coming next, or what you might learn on any given day. There are a few things that take place each and every day, so let me tell you a bit about that side of the job.
Our day starts at the Blue Mountain Inn, where our patrol room is. The team collects their equipment (bikes or skis), changes into their uniform, gets a radio for communication and heads out for the day. Once everyone has made it out on the hill, they check all of the equipment… and I really do mean ALL of the equipment. They have a full page of things to check just for 1 of our 2 vehicles and they check it every morning! Then they go through all of the first aid bags, first aid drawers in the first aid huts, checking paperwork, making sure they have enough supplies, getting ice and water … the morning checklist to get the day started is a lot of work. At this time of day, you will typically find the team in and out of the first aid huts and checking in with other staff like our Lift Operators, and attractions staff that are also doing their start up procedures.
Once we know the supplies and equipment are ready to go for anything that might come our way, the real fun begins! In the winter, the morning involves skiing each and every run before any guests are on the hill. This is to check for hazards that need to be marked with our famous caution buttons and anything that could compromise the snow or safety of the riders. In the summer, the process is a little different. We will ride the Gondola and do a run across the top to make sure the trail heads are open or closed appropriately. Patrollers will open the bike park from there.
Once the morning chores are done, our team gets a taste of sweet, sweet freedom! They get to ride, enjoy the outdoors, drink coffee, and have fun with friends! Wait, did I say freedom and fun? That’s not correct. I meant to say, once morning chores are done, so begins a 10-hour day with no lunch or bathroom breaks, along with a soaking wet sweaty uniform and only contacting friends through a radio. But, that’s also kind of an exaggeration.
The truth about a day in the life of a Patroller is that is it NEVER the same. Some days are so busy that they don’t get to go inside to warm up or cool down and the team moves from one incident to the next.
Please do not mistake my tone here, our team loves helping whenever and however they can… sometimes they even sacrifice food to help!
But then there is the other kind of day, where they do get to be outside, talking to guests who are visiting Blue Mountain and having a great time enjoying all this beautiful Resort has to offer. These are the days that staff and guest will see the crosses enjoying the “freedom” of their job, living life outside, staying active and working in an environment that they love to play in! This is best part of the job in my opinion… working where you play and helping to create the best experience for those who are also coming to play – obviously while keeping it safe, following the rules, and staying in bounds. Those things are the most important! Who doesn’t love fun that stays within the lines?
One of behind the scenes things our department does is training. Oh boy do we love to train … and then train again … and once we know something really well, we do more training! Our department prides itself on being innovative, well trained in first response and experts in how to best care for the guests and staff at Blue Mountain when they are in need. Our training not only consists of first aid, but also extraction from the mountain, public relations, documentation, and incident investigation. And let me tell you, as first responders with ‘type A’ personalities we REALLY like to know what we are talking about … because we all REALLY like to be right.
This next bit of information is going to be a little heart felt and mushy, so be warned as you may experience some feelings.
Each and every day working as part of the Patrol team is rewarding because you get to help people in a multitude of ways, enjoy the outdoors and even though we don’t like to advertise it … you get paid to ski, snowboard, or ride your bike. I think that is pretty awesome. But THE most amazing thing about this team of people is their dedication to the guest and the pride they all take in the work they do as first responders. It is a truly amazing thing that Patrollers have chosen to commit their time and efforts toward ensuring safety, providing comfort and first aid to the people at Blue Mountain Resort.
Our team is so much more than a group of hard-working coworkers… they are a family. They have created a bond that I cannot describe as anything other than the relationship between members of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S cast. Each of them have their quirks, but the bond they have cannot be broken.
The moral of my story is that the Patrol Services team is full of fun and excitement. Trust me, there is never a dull moment. From games of ‘would you rather’, to après after work with the gang, it is all inclusive. However, they are always ready for action, ready to respond and ready to help with anything they can. This team of people, sweats, freezes, wears through countless pairs of ski socks, gets up early and stays up late to do their very best to create an amazing experience for everyone at Blue Mountain.
Now please remember, that while we love to have fun, we have to enforce that everyone do it safely. Do you remember why? That’s right… BECAUSE SAFETY IS SEXY!
Have yourself a very sexy, safe day.