Huff Hills Ski Patrol Safety Training

Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 10:09 PM CDT
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HUFF HILLS, N.D. (KFYR) - Before you can hit the slopes this winter, Ski Patrol at Huff Hills is training for the ski and snowboard season.

Although these paths are empty now, skiers and snowboarders will be here shortly, and ski patrol is here to ensure everyone’s safety.

For the 2022-2023 season, Huff Hills will have 38 volunteer ski patrols. The patrols go through 100 hours of training to gear them up for the ski season.

“Our patrols are really awesome, and we always spend time every fall reviewing procedures that they’ll be a power outage or something else that we’d be able to get people off the lifts,” said Andrew Beck, operations manager at Huff Hills.

Throughout the trainings, they go over first aid, evacuation from lifts, and any other safety precautions the ski patrol might need.

“If you’re a good skier, and you don’t have a medical background, then that’s the part we will coach you on, and work with you more,” said Brian Beattie, patrol director.

For both the ski patrols and patrons, Huff Hills has become a staple spot of recreation for North Dakotans.

“There’s a whole community of people that this is a special place we’ve had people propose to each other out here, and it’s been fun over 30 years to provide that,” said Beck.

Emily Sakariassen learned how to ski the first season Huff Hills opened in 1983 and has come back for 17 seasons on the ski patrol team.

“I learned how to ski out here, I learned how to embrace North Dakota winter by skiing and playing out here, This is my way to give back and make a safe place for others to do the same,” said Emily Sakariassen, ski patrol.

The patrols training is through The National Ski Patrol outdoor emergency care, and each year the volunteers take time to do refresher courses.

“The thing for me is working with the other patrollers because it’s a volunteer effort, and it’s fairly incredible what they can do to be able to do this,” said Beattie.

When the snow falls, Huff Hills will celebrate its 30th season. They use around 10 million gallons of water a year to keep the hills full of fresh powder.

You can check Huff Hills Facebook page for updates on when their opening day will be. The youngest you can be to join the ski patrol is 15.