National Ski Patrol (NSP) is a 501(c)(3) membership-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the gold-standard of outdoor education to first responders, in all seasons.
Affordable, “Gold Standard” Training: NSP offers Outdoor First Care (OFC) and Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) to our membership. Thanks to over 31,000 members and generous donations, we are able to offer these at affordable prices. Our medical training is recognized by mountain resorts across the country at a price that is doable for volunteers. For example, for $60 national fee, materials and your class time, you can earn your OEC credentials, which is similar to EMT training, but is much more affordable and transferable across state lines. NSP dues and fees vary slightly by region.
Pro Deals & NSP Online Store: As a member of NSP, you get access to a variety of discounted equipment directly from partner brands. You also have access to gear on the NSP Online Store, which includes bike patrol jerseys, general bike clothing, eyewear, medical supplies, etc. Our partner brands include Patagonia, Bolle, Smith, Yakima, and more.
Recruitment Assistance: NSP supports local patrols by providing recruitment materials such as designs for recruitment posters, cards, etc. (to be printed by local patrol). You can see our snow sports versions if you are an NSP member on our online store. NSP offers a Bike Patrol 101 course that serves as an introduction for those interested in patrolling. We can also leverage our public social media following to raise awareness of the growing need for bike patrol and encourage people to find a local patrol to join.
Community and Advancement: NSP has a robust organizational structure that encourages leadership roles and diversified training options outside of the more common OFC and OEC courses. We have programs such as Mountain Travel and Rescue (MTR), Women’s Program, Young Adult Patroller Program (YAP), etc., as well as awards for Outstanding Bike Patroller and Outstanding Bike Patrol.
Information-sharing Platforms: Membership includes an annual subscription to Ski Patrol Magazine. NSP is also currently compiling best practices among bike patrols all around the country. While we do not plan to set standards for bike patrol activities, as they are area-specific, we do want patrols to be able to share and learn from each other.
Regional Bike Advisors
NSP Bike Patrols and Bike Host Units
This means that if you are a bike patroller with an OEC card, you can join the NSP! If you take our OFC course, you can join the NSP as a bike host. Hosts serve in a variety of roles but are trained as first responders through the Outdoor First Care course. This required first aid course includes content knowledge and hands-on skills training. OFC only costs $25.00 and provides a two-year certification upon completion. Subsequent renewals of OFC may be completed at no additional charge. All Outdoor First Care courses are offered through host units or patrols and course schedules vary. Please contact the patrol or host unit you are interested in joining to learn more. Not sure what patrol is near you or who to contact? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NSP offers these memberships in response to the evolving year-round outdoor recreation industry. As ski areas offer more summer activities, NSP education programs equip patrollers and hosts to support lift-accessed areas as well as additional land management units, including urban parks and open space parks.
How to Set Up a Bike Patrol or Bike Host Unit
Whether you are in a ski area or at a non lift-accessed area, there are a variety of things to consider when establishing a bike patrol or host unit. The first step is to work with area management to determine the desired approach.
- Purpose: What is the need for a bike patrol or host unit?
- Skills patrollers need: NSP bike patrollers must obtain Outdoor Emergency Care certification. NSP bike hosts must obtain Outdoor First Care training.
- Roles and responsibilities of patrollers in bike park: It is important to discuss this with area management as you proceed with forming a patrol or host unit.
- Communication and safety: Do patrollers and hosts greet guests and serve as ambassadors? Do they distribute pamphlets or brochures and/or point out signage?
- Signage, closures: Visit the National Ski Area Association’s webpage for more information.
- Care and transportation: Extraction and care of the guest differ from the winter. Be aware that travel times tend to be longer and rougher. Train your patrol on summer transportation techniques.
- MOU or other agreement with your land area: You must have an agreement with the land area on which your bike patrol or host unit operates. If you are in a lift-accessed area, ski area management ultimately supervises and controls patrolling and host activities of individual NSP members, NSP patrols, and host programs at each ski area.
Join Process: Become a NSP Bike Patrol or Bike Host Unit
The bike patrol or host unit leader will reach out to the Lakewood office in Colorado by emailing the registration manager at email@example.com, or by calling the office at (303) 988-1111. The NSP Registration Manager will reply with information about the different types of membership the bike patrol or host unit can participate in.
The bike patrol or host unit leader will respond to the registration manager via email with the decision if they would like to join as a bike patrol or bike host unit. The registration manager will respond with an attached application for a bike host unit or bike patrol. In this email, the registration manager will also include the division’s contact information based on the inquiring bike patrol or host unit geographic location.
The bike patrol or host unit leader will reach out to the division director regarding how they can take either the Outdoor First Care (OFC) or Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) course, as determined by whether they are forming a host unit or patrol, respectively. The leader will also take this opportunity to introduce themselves to the division and discuss dues and best practices. If the patrol or host unit does not already have trained OEC instructors as members, the division director will need to identify a process for the patrollers or hosts to obtain the proper training.
The bike patrol or host unit leader will create an account on the www.nsp.org website. They will then fill out all fields of the application minus the section, region, and division signatures at the bottom. Once this is filled out, the leader will email or fax this application to the registration manager at the Lakewood office. If they have any questions, they can reach out to the Lakewood office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The registration manager will then forward this application to the division director for approval and signature. Once the division director approves the new bike patrol or host unit, the registration manager at the Lakewood office will create the bike patrol or Host Unit in the system.
The registration manager will then communicate with the bike leader that the patrol or host unit has been created and how to proceed with payment so that they are able to manage their roster.