As some of my peeps know, I have been working Ski Patrol over the winter while wedding season pretty much slows down. I decided to take it on for the experience... figured it would be neat to kind of get into a "team" environment. It's been a huge step outside of my comfort zone, and the experience I've had so far this winter is a lot of what I expected and hoped for. I feel like it's keeping me in good shape. I can eat pizza every day if I want, and as much as I want. More than anything, it's been totally humbling. I have learned a lot about myself through this job and it's teaching me endless lessons in regard to Situational Awareness. I'm not used to being told what to do. Now I am being told what to do all day long. That aspect has been challenging, and I'm learning to respect my authority.
I've made some real rookie mistakes. I got a snowmobile stuck a few weeks ago on my way back from dropping some guys off at the back bowls. It was white out conditions and I was worried about driving it off a cornice. Then the next week I was sweeping one of the bowls, and I dropped into the bowls early and the wrong bowl no less. I got a pretty good earful for that one. This job is making me more sharp, which is what I really need for personal reasons and even for the benefit of my professional business of being one of the best wedding photographers that I can be.
The people I work with are absolutely amazing. The patrollers I work with are a ton of fun, but man, when it's time to work, they are 100% committed to their duties. They're awesome skiers and athletes. It's a pretty big group, lead by a Director of Ski Patrol, Assistant Director, and like 6 supervisors. We all have "familys" that we belong to, each family per supervisor. My supervisor is Rick, a tall guy who is known for his attention to detail. The other day he and I opened a few runs and he's constantly stopping to tighten up ropes, straighten bamboo markers, and adjust snowmobile lanes. I'll try to get a shot of Rick in here soon. I'm just starting to bring my camera to work. Being a rookie, I've been on a probationary period and have felt a little reluctant to bring it along, but I brought it the other day and no one seemed to care. So nothing too cool yet, but I plan on bringing it every day from here on out, so keep checking the blog for some tight action shots!
SO.... the photos. The first is of Lee, one of the directors. I'm pretty sure I'm on his good list. His finger is caught in his zipper. The other is of Jeff, our "head coach" and director of ski patrol. Jeff is a hilarous guy, but he's also a true leader. Best boss I've ever had, besides myself of course! The next shot is of a snow cat. Cool story about the head snow cat guy, he's this old guy who smokes cigarettes, wears aviator glasses and listens to... the Cranberrys while he drives the cats.... but he's so good that he has been recruited by the winter olympics as one of their groomers. I think thats really cool. The last one is of a couple patrollers, Mark and Pat. They are in what's called the "out" chairs. The "first out" is the guy who's next on deck for any accidents that are called in. Sometimes they get to "go for a ski", which is always nice. So far, I have been first on scene of a total of 18 accidents, or "1050's". I'll try to get more skiing action shots soon!