The Nordic Program

For over three decades, the Nordic program has been an integral part of the National Ski Patrol System. Thanks to the efforts of David Hodgdon and Marty Hubner in the ’70s, the Nordic program was formed and the first national Nordic director appointed by the board. Over the years, the program has provided services to backcountry enthusiasts by interfacing with the National Forest Service, different park agencies, and local search and rescue groups. We also provided venue coverage at alpine and Nordic resorts.

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.

Over the last decade, the Nordic program did not have a Nordic director in the national office and the program was merged into the transportation program. Much of the membership felt that the program wasn’t being served by doing this, and asked me to spearhead an effort to get it back as a standalone program with national representation. After 14 months of work, the board voted in favor of recognizing the Nordic program once again. At the June 2010 board meeting in Lakewood, the board appointed a national director to the program. This is a huge step in the healing process of the program. To those of you that have sustained this program over the last decade plus, your peers commend you.

Moving forward, we plan on reviewing and modernizing all of our educational materials. Our manual is over 14 years old. We are addressing any changes that may be necessary in the Nordic Senior Program. We are also considering any new ideas within the group (i.e. Nordic Masters classification) Recruitment and retention within the organization is very important. We will be exploring new ways to better serve our membership and develop new patrols. Nordic ski enhancement seminars are effective tools in building stronger confidence and better proficiency on the slopes. Most importantly, we will work to standardize our program throughout the divisions, making sure we all have the same tools to succeed and a quality assurance plan in place to ensure that the product we are marketing meets our highest standards. I see great things on the horizon for the Nordic patrollers in our system, but I can’t do this alone. Please step up and take advantage of this opportunity to move forward in developing a new national Nordic program. Thanks for all you do, and I look forward to working with you.