NSP: When did you become a patroller, and what led you to start patrolling?
Olivia: This will be my first season as a patroller, and I'm pretty excited! I've been interested in patrolling since I first learned to ski and snowboard as a Texan transplant in Canada. That was my first time seeing snow – REAL snow – and I was hooked. I've worked in wilderness medicine since 2014, so it was just a matter of time before I combined my interest in winter sports and medicine to pursue a position with Snow King in Jackson Hole.
NSP: What did you find most challenging about patroller training prior to becoming a patroller?
Olivia: At the moment, we're still in OEC mode, so it's a lot of book work and adjusting to the NSP's scope and standard of care as opposed to my other jobs. I'm really looking forward to the on-snow components though; learning to maneuver with a toboggan and rope rescue/chairlift evacuation techniques will be really cool (especially because I love climbing)!
NSP: How many cups of coffee do you drink during a patrol shift?
Olivia: Olivia: Haha, we'll put the conservative estimate at four, which is about two thermoses for a normal day. If I'm running errands or working after a shift though, all bets are off ⸺ I'll just start drinking straight from the carafe.
NSP: Powder or groomers?
Olivia: Is it fair to say both? Living in Jackson, powder is the easy answer! But quality time carving up groomers is also a super solid option if it's not a pow day.
NSP: What have you learned the most about yourself from patrolling?
Olivia: Olivia: I do really well when I'm being challenged; whether it's a tricky extrication scenario or a weird medical call, I do really well when I get to think on my feet and outside the box.
NSP: What do you find most rewarding about patrolling and being a member of the National Ski Patrol?
Olivia: I thrive off of patient contact. Some of the most rewarding calls I've been on have been those where I can really advocate for a patient and their family and reassure them about what they're going through. From scared parents watching their kids experience anaphylaxis for the first time, to someone's blown knee ending their vacation, providing care and being an empathetic ear for patients is what it's all about for me, and I'm looking forward to doing more of that this winter while serving my community.
NSP: What are you looking forward to doing most as a patroller?
Olivia: I'm pretty stoked to have a role in opening and closing the hill, honestly! Some of the quiet moments are really awesome, like before the lifts get busy, or after the last skiers have reached the base area. But let's be real ⸺ early mornings are also prime coffee-drinking time, and that's something I can always get behind.
NSP: What is your favorite OEC chapter?
Olivia: I don't know if I could pick just one, but trauma is super exciting for me. GI/GU stuff definitely forces you to think harder in a more clinical setting, but I love the fast pace and dynamic nature of trauma response.