Jennifer Laitala, Wachusett Mountain Ski Patrol
NSP:When did you become a patroller, and what led you to start patrolling?
Jennifer: I became a patroller 27 years ago at the age of 15. I started with the YAP program at Wachusett Mountain. My parents were/are active patrollers. I grew up around patrolling and patrollers. Now my mother, father, sister, husband, niece, and I are all active patrollers, and my oldest daughter will be joining this year. It is definitely a family venture.
NSP: What did you find most challenging about patroller training prior to becoming a patroller?
Jennifer: The most challenging training prior to becoming a patroller was the OEC class, though back then it was called WEC. As a teenager, it was a lot of hands-on first aid that I had never done before.
NSP: How many cups of coffee do you drink during a patrol shift?
Jennifer: I don't drink coffee but I love sugar, Swedish fish especially. I usually have some kind of sweet treat in my pockets to keep me going.
NSP: Powder or groomers?
Jennifer: In the East we are accustomed to groomers, commonly referred to as New England hard pack, but every now and then we get some awesome powder to play in!
NSP: What have you learned the most about yourself from patrolling?
Jennifer: I have learned that I am capable of accomplishing a lot more than I ever thought I would be able to do. I have grown and learned so much, from managing different personalities to running programs to now being a patrol director of a large alpine patrol.
NSP: What do you find most rewarding about patrolling and being a member of the National Ski Patrol?
Jennifer: The most rewarding thing about being involved in the NSP is the different roles I have been involved in and the growth I have achieved personally, from OEC instructor, TI (toboggan instructor), to Senior examiner in both OET and OEC.
NSP: What inspired you to become a Certified patroller?
Jennifer: I was interested in learning more advanced skills and aspiring to be a better patroller then I already was. The challenge was the biggest inspiration. I learned aspects of patrolling I had never known before, such as low angle rescue.
NSP: What do you love most about the Certified Program?
Jennifer: The Certified Program is comprised of men and women who have aspired to be the very best of the best. The challenge of completing the Certified Program, while daunting at times, made me a better all-around patroller. The sense of accomplishment I achieved receiving Certified #765 was immeasurable. I would highly recommend the program to any patroller that is looking to challenge themselves.