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How to Join the National Ski Patrol at Sugarbowl Ski Resort

The first step in becoming a ski patroller is to pass a ski check, the second is to take an "Outdoor Emergency Care" first aid course, a CPR Class, and lastly, to attend and successfully complete the on-the-hill training during the subsequent ski season. Please read this page and if you have additional questions contact our membership coordinator:

The Ski Check

The first step to becoming a ski patroller is to pass a ski check this ski season, no later than mid-April. We are looking for skiers, snowboarders or tele-skiers that are stable and confident anywhere on our mountain. This assures us that a candidate has the requisite ski skills necessary to ski any type of terrain found in the Sugar Bowl ski area. We have a wide variety of terrain, and our conditions change dramatically throughout the year. We don't expect pretty, but we do expect competence.

2022-2023 season  On -the-Hill Ski / Board Test Schedule

Sat, Jan 21

Sat, Feb 25

Sat, Mar 25

Sat, Apr 15 if needed  


Let us know what date works best for you, whether you'll be on snowboard, tele or alpine skis, and include your cell phone number.  We'll confirm your test date.

The ski check will consist of two or more runs. On the first one, we go through the basics: Short radius turns, long radius turns, snowplowing, power-slides, herringbones, etc. We will demonstrate each of these skills for you so you know what we are expecting to see. On the second run, we will ski moguls, then do some kick-turns in a steep area, followed by some skiing in steep terrain.

Outdoor Emergency Care Course (OEC)

If you pass the ski check, the next step is to locate and sign up for a National Ski Patrol OEC course. This course is taught at several locations during the summer and fall, is approximately 80 hours total, and is normally scheduled for two evenings a week with some additional classes on Saturdays. Past locations have included Roseville, Piedmont, Santa Rosa, Modesto, San Ramon, Tahoe City, and Palo Alto, although locations can vary from year-to-year. There is also often a 2-week intensive course taught in the North Lake Tahoe region. This course covers the basics of trauma in an outdoor environment, with special emphasis on orthopedic and cold-related injuries (frostbite, hypothermia). OEC is comparable in scope to an EMT-B certification, but with more emphasis on trauma and less on medical emergencies. You can obtain additional information about OEC courses at

Listing of local OEC Classes:


South Bay:

East Bay: Starts

Tahoe City: Starts October

Northstar Intensive 2 week course: Starts 19 October

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

You must also locate and signup for a CPR for Emergency Care Professionals course if your OEC course does not include this.  CPR is taught at numerous locations, times, and dates. The American Red Cross, among others, provides this training. Search the internet for local classes. You must recertify your CPR on an annual basis.

Fall Refresher

Once you pass the OEC Course, you register with the National Ski Patrol as a Candidate at Sugar Bowl. In October or November, you will then attend Sugar Bowl's Fall Refresher. This training, which all patrollers must attend on a yearly basis, refreshes patroller's skills such as OEC, avalanche search and rescue, chairlift evacuation, and hill protocols.

On-the-Hill Training

Candidate training is held on the second and fourth weekend of the month from January through mid-April, with one weekend in December for orientation. Training will primarily consist of learning how to handle a loaded/unloaded toboggan and applying OEC skills in realistic settings (snow-covered mountains as opposed to classroom floors). Candidates will also spend time learning where everything is on the hill such as ski runs, closures, sweep assignments, etc. We also encourage Candidates to come up on non-training weekends to shadow patrollers. Candidates can learn a great deal about the Ski Patrol by watching us in action.

Final on-the-hill testing


Testing for  OEC, toboggan handling, and ski check is typically held on the second weekend of April. If you pass all three, you will be a Basic Patroller in the National Ski Patrol and may wear a Ski Patrol uniform and patrol for the remainder of the ski season.


The National Ski Patrol is a volunteer organization. As such, you will not be paid for your time. However, all your expenses associated with Ski Patrol (OEC textbook, CPR certification, clothing, equipment, meals, and lodging) are tax-deductible because the NSP is classified as a non-profit (consult your tax professional).

As a Basic Patroller, you will receive a season ski pass at Sugar Bowl. If you are married, your spouse and children will also receive ski passes. If you are single, you will receive a one-day pass, which you may give to anyone, for each day you patrol. Candidates ski free, as long as they are in training or shadowing a patroller. Candidates and patrollers also get a meal card that entitles them to seasonally defined discounts at Sugar Bowl's facilities.

The best benefit of the Sugar Bowl Ski Patrol is the friendships and camaraderie you will develop as you patrol with the many exceptional people at Sugar Bowl.

Ongoing Commitment

COVID-19 - We are still evaluating and determining patrol protocol and procedures for this coming 2020-2021 season to meet the requirements that COVID presents.  That said, in previous seasons, you would have been required to patrol 14 weekend days (holidays and Christmas week also count) and attend a Fall Refresher each year. You must be ready to go at 7:45am on your assigned patrol days, and you will normally be released around 5 pm. You will sign up for patrol days on-line prior to the annual Fall Refresher. You are free to choose your weekends, as long as you spread your commitment out over the entire ski season.

Ski Patrol / Alpine Ski Patroller

Typical "Alpine Patrollers" become certified in first aid , sled handling, and skiing disciplines.  We also have a limited number of "Ski Patrol" positions for those who have excellent OEC skills but do not possess the ski skills required of the on-the-hill ski patrol. The primary responsibility of "Ski Patrol" qualified members is to staff one of Sugar Bowl's first aid rooms for half-day shifts, providing OEC. The remainder of the shift is spent skiing on the hill and providing OEC as needed. Auxiliary Ski Patrol receives the same benefits as Ski Patrol staff. The training program for Auxiliary Ski Patrol is exactly the same as Ski Patrol.


Most Patrollers share cabin rentals during the ski season. Costs can run anywhere between $700-1,200 per season (December to April). Start looking for a place to stay in summer or fall, since cabin space fills up quick. There are also several ski clubs nearby that often offer memberships to patrollers including The Viking Ski Club, The Oakland Ski Club, The Pennisula Ski Club, and Skolars Ski Club.

Affiliate Transfers of NSP membership to our patrol


Affiliate Membership includes NSP patrollers who have primary registration with another patrol and wish to have secondary registration with our Patrol, and also includes currently active patrollers from other resorts who wish to "transfer" to our resort.

Affiliate Membership is usually granted, not to exceed two consecutive seasons, under the following circumstances:

  1. Patrollers who desire to transfer primary membership to this Patrol, and who have demonstrated their ability to meet the Patrol’s proficiency requirements.

  2. Patrollers who have relocated to this area, and/or are unable to meet minimum activity requirements at their home area.

  3. Such other special circumstances as the Board deems appropriate.


Basic and Senior Patrollers who are currently registered with another NSP patrol must first patrol at least four weekend days at the Resort as visitors, at which time they shall be evaluated for overall competence and attitude, including satisfactory completion of a ski/snowboard proficiency screening and toboggan check (at the level of Candidate testing). At least one of these days must be on a Board weekend. The patroller may then apply for affiliate membership.

Upon receiving the application, the Board shall evaluate the applicant’s suitability as a prospective member as follows:

  1. directly observe the applicant as a visiting patroller.

  2. interview the applicant at a regular Board meeting.

  3. solicit a performance evaluation from the applicant’s home patrol director.

  4. review performance evaluations from regular members who have patrolled with the applicant.


While being evaluated, the applicant may continue to visit and receive visitor benefits.

To obtain Patrol membership, the applicant must patrol an additional ten days over no more than two consecutive seasons, beyond the four days on which he or she patrolled as a visitor before his/her acceptance as a prospective affiliate member.


Over this evaluation period, the applicant must demonstrate competence in all patrol disciplines and the attitude expected of regular active members. At the discretion of the Affiliate Coordinator, formal testing in any patrol discipline may be required as a condition of the applicant’s consideration for regular active membership in the Patrol.

After at least 14 combined patrolling days as a visitor/affiliate, the applicant may then apply for regular membership. Approval for affiliate membership requires a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the Board. If accepted, affiliates shall pay the Patrol portion of registration dues. The Patrol shall submit secondary registration documents to the NSP.


Affiliate members shall be entitled to:

  • use of changing and equipment storage facilities on the days they patrol.

  • such other benefits as may be provided by the Corporation.


Any Affiliate member of the Patrol whose actions are contrary to any of the provisions of NSP policy, these Bylaws, the vested authority of the Patrol leadership, or any of the policies, rules, and regulations of the Corporation, is subject to Patrol discipline.

To get more information on how to transfer to Sugar Bowl National Ski Patrol from another resort, please contact

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