The NSP was originally organized and directed by Charles Minot “Minnie” Dole as a committee of the National Ski Association. Through Dole’s efforts as the first national director of the NSP, the organization spread its esprit de corps across the nation. Upon his retirement in 1950, Dole had built the NSP into an organization of 4,000 members serving 300 ski patrols.

During World War II, Dole was responsible for the establishment of the famed 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army. Applicants for this remarkable military unit, which saw much of its fighting activity in Italy, were screened by the NSP. Many individuals who were responsible for the establishment of ski areas in the United States served in the 10th Mountain Division and contributed significantly to the sport.

Thanks to this distinguished legacy of altruistic service, the NSP was recognized with a federal charter by the United States Congress in 1980.

The Role of the National Ski Patrol

The National Ski Patrol (NSP), founded in 1938, has followed its creed of “Service and Safety” since the establishment of skiing as a popular sport in the United States. As snow sports and guest services at areas have evolved over the years, so has the NSP, from a service organization to a modern-day professional education association. Other snow sports, such as snowboarding, tubing, and snow-skating, introduced new equipment and new terrain, which in turn required developing and teaching new safety and emergency care training methods. Increased access to the back-country beyond ski area boundaries has also meant new training regimens for members of the NSP. The NSP’s most recent endeavor has welcomed mountain bike patrollers as members, in response to the increasing development of summer and year-round operations.

Today, the organization is composed of more than 31,000 members serving over 650 patrols. These individuals include patrollers who are paid or who volunteer their time throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia and at certain military areas abroad.