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National Ski Patrol - Western Appalachian Region News

Winter Training Schedule Updates

The late start to winter has caused a few changes to the training schedule. Please check with Instructor before you attend an event. Contact information can be found on the Calendar page.


* Nordic Senior Eval on Jan 9 Cancelled

* All EMM clinics will take place snow or no snow

* Avalanche will take place snow or no snow

* S&T Clinic added for Canaan on Jan 23

* S&T Clinic added for Tussey Mt. on Jan 31

* S&T Clinic added for Ski Sawmill on Jan 31


Canaan Valley first to open in the region

Even with the warm and wet start to the 2015/2016 ski season, Canaan Valley was able to make enough snow to open before any other resort in the region. They opened the mountain with 6 trails top to bottom on Saturday, December 19th. Boyce Park opened on Monday Dec 21. Hidden Valley and Seven Springs opened on Wednesday Dec 23. Think Snow!!!


National Board Rep Elections

Voting for the 2015 National Board Rep elections

finished on December 1. The results are as follows:


Jim Woodrum - Central Division

Brian Rull - Central Division

John (Ty) Damon - Central Division

Ed McNamara - Eastern Division


Only 20% of Eastern Division patrollers voted, where as 40% of Central Division patrollers voted this year. The results of the election reflect that. The lone winner from Eastern Division won by less the 100 votes. Every vote does count, and 27% of our region patrollers did vote. If you voted this year, thank you! If you didn't...


2015 Region Elections

The 2015 region elections are complete. Bill Smith IV of Wisp has been elected as the next Region Director. His term will start April 1, 2016. I've enjoyed my role as region director. Please feel free to contact me or Bill Smith if you have any questions about the region.


Young Adult Patroller (YAP) Seminar - Jan 23 & 24 - Blue Knob

The region Young Adult Patroller (YAP) seminar will be held on Jan 23 & 24 at Blue Knob. It's a great learning experience and a lot of fun. The highlight of the weekend is the Extravert Challenge. Anyone able to ski down extravert without falling gets a pin. Last year we had a twenty participants. The Division YAP event will be held at Bromley, VT on March 19 & 20. We have a strong YAP program headed by Liz Hermann. Click here for more information. If you'd like to attend an event, or would like to assist financially, please contact Liz Hermann.


Avalanche Level 1 Course - Jan 30 

An Avalanche Level 1, Module 1, course will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset, PA. The Introduction to Avalanche course is a great opportunity for you to expand your knowledge of safely participating in back country activities. Whether you are an avid skier, a back country hiker, or an aspiring or accomplished mountaineer, this course will help you improve your awareness of the surrounding environment and allow you to safely enhance your experience. This course is also a senior elective. Registration closes on January 25. Course cost will be $55.00 for NSP members and $65.00 for non NSP members. For additional information please contact region Avalanche advisor John Boburchuk at 814-659-2858 or Patroldirector@hotmail.com


Patroller School and Women's Seminar - Feb 6 & 7

The Western Appalachian Region Patroller School and Women's Seminar are very popular. The Patroller School is already sold out with a waiting list. The Women's seminar has just a few spots left. If you are interested, don't wait! Sign up now. Go to eventbrite.com, and search for "2016 Western App patroller school". It will open to a link to sign in and register. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Region S&T Adviser, Eric Speedy at ericspeedy@comcast.net.


Clinics are designed to give patrollers of all levels a chance to attend a Skier Enhancement Seminar and Toboggan Enhancement Seminar, all in one weekend.  The Women's Clinic is the same as the Patroller school with the exception of it being women only; women instructors and patrollers. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow patrollers from different resorts and spend a weekend running sleds, skiing and getting tips and feedback from top level instructors from the region and other regions throughout the Eastern Division.


Winter Training Schedule Posted

The 2015-2016 region S&T, EMM, Nordic and MTR training schedules have been posted on the region home page and the schedule page. You are encouraged to participate to improve your skills in any discipline, whether to intend to take the senior test or not. Please contact the program advisors for more information.


Laurel Summit Nordic Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Laurel Summit Nordic Patrol (Formerly Laurel Hill Nordic) will be holding their 40th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Feb. 6th, 2016. All past and current primary and secondary (and Laurel Mountain) patrollers are welcome. It will be held at the Warming Hut on Summit road starting 10am until...  The fun day will be filled with reunions, old photos, skiing, and more. You can find weekly updates on the Laurel Summit Facebook page. For more information, and to RSVP, please contact Ann Rahn.


Region Patrollers Win Awards

We have a lot talented patrollers in our region. This year the Eastern Division recognized three of them.

* Bob Snoby of Hidden Valley - 2015 Outstanding OEC Instructor

* John Miller of Blue Knob - 2015 Outstanding Instructor (non OEC)

* Liz Hermann of Blue Knob - 2015 Outstanding Administrator


Three received Outstanding Western Appalachian Region Patroller Awards:

* Liz Hermann of Blue Knob - 2015 Outstanding Region Patroller

* Anna Hermann of Blue Knob - 2015 Outstanding Region Young Adult Patroller

* Bob Snoby of Hidden Valley - 2015 Outstanding Region Instructor


Three region patrollers were awarded National Appointments:

* Scott Graham of Laurel Mountain

* Liz Hermann of Blue Knob

* Jesse Hill of Blue Knob


In addition, six patrollers received Yellow Merit Stars:

* Jeff Alcorn of Seven Springs

* Evelyn Alcorn of Seven Springs

* Eric Speedy of Seven Springs

* Ken Schweinsburg of Hidden Valley

* Bob Snoby of Hidden Valley

* John Boburchuk of Blue Knob



We have many talented patrols and patrollers in the region. In the last four years our region has won two Eastern Division Outstanding Small Patrol awards (Mystic Mt and Ski Sawmill), the Outstanding Patrol Director (Pat McChesney of Mystic Mt.), the Outstanding Administrator award (Liz Hermann of Blue Knob), the Outstanding OEC Instructor (Bob Snoby of Hidden Valley) and two Outstanding Instructor Awards (John Miller and Mike Wess, both of Blue Knob). We have many more patrollers that should be recognized for their outstanding work.


There are awards for:

Alpine Patroller, Nordic Patroller, Patroller (formerly Auxiliary), Young Adult Patroller, OEC Instructor, non-OEC Instructor, Patrol Representative, Large Patrol, Small Patrol (under 40 patrollers), and Nordic Patrol.


There are also awards for saving a life. If you know of someone on your patrol that you feel is deserving of one of these awards, contact your awards advisor or your patrol director. Anyone can write an award, you don't have to be the awards advisor. The deadline for award submissions is Feb 15th. Don't wait until the last minute. For more information, contact our region awards advisor Eva Kunkel.


Instructor Development Course held at Tussey Mountain

An Instructor Development class was held on Sunday August 9th at Tussey Mountain in State College, PA. Ten patrollers from all over the region, including Penn State Outing Club, Ski Sawmill, Blue Knob, Seven Springs, Canaan, and one visiting patroller from Heavenly Valley, CA. attended. As part of the class, each patroller had to teach a 10 minute lesson. This photo shows the successful results from the 2015 class of a lesson in how to make an ice cream sundae while encumbered with simulated physical disabilities. The Instructor Development course is off-line while it's being retooled. If you'd like information on how to take the next course in the spring, please contact Pat Boccardi at patboc@juno.com.



Region loses an institution - M. David Shaeffer

Long time patroller and an institution in the Western Appalachian Region and Eastern Division, Dave Shaeffer, known as M David to his fellow Nordic patrollers, passed away on Tuesday March 11 of complications from pneumonia. Dave founded both the Laurel Hill Nordic Patrol (now known as Laurel Summit Nordic) and the Hidden Valley Nordic Patrol (now known as Laurel Highlands Nordic). He also was head of the Nordic patrol at the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, along with Ann Rahn. Funeral arrangements are incomplete. I'll send more information as it becomes available. Dave will be missed.



Region patrollers help at Pittsburgh Marathon

Nearly 40 patrollers from 8 ski areas in the Western Appalachian Region assisted as the Rapid Response Team at the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon on May 3rd. Patrollers from Boyce Park, Hidden Valley, Seven Springs, Blue Knob, Laurel Highlands Nordic, Laurel Mountain, Wisp and Canaan ski patrols assisted at the event. The Pittsburgh Marathon medical team treated a total of 367 runners (168 at the finish line medical tent and 199 at the medical aid stations along the course). A total of 49 people were transported to local hospitals. Race Medical Director Ron Roth said, "The RRT is a Pittsburgh invention that creatively filled the void of medical care in the chutes." Eli Freidman, finish line Medical Director said, "I am so humbled that many of you return year after year to take part in this. Each year is like a big family gathering to ensure the safety of all because, as the Ski Patrol says, "That's just what we do." A big thank you goes to Boyce Park patrol director Pat Boccardi for organizing the region's effort at this event for the past 3 years.


Region YAP Program a success - Kids Win 3 Division Awards


Region YAP Advisor Liz Hermann has once again created a successful Young Adult Patroller (YAP) program for the Region. Starting with just two YAPs in the region four years ago, we now have 31 YAPs in the region. More than 20 of them attended the Region YAP seminar at Blue Knob in February this year. They got top skiing, toboggan handling and OEC instruction from Senior TE's. Division YAP Advisor Craig Larson also attended the event. They also enjoyed the Extravert Challenge - who could ski the double black diamond slope non-stop without falling. Everyone was successful. Nine YAP's attended the Division YAP event at Jiminy Peak MA. And three of them came home with awards - 2nd and 3rd in toboggan handling, and 3rd on OEC. Congratulations to all.


Inter-Divisional Intro to Avalanche Course Held

The first of its kind, inter-divisional Introduction to Avalanche course was held at Canaan Valley on January 31, 2015. Patrollers from the Western Appalachian Region, Eastern Division participated with patrollers fro the West Virginia Region, Southern Division. Our Region Avalanche Advisor John Boburchuk lead the course as 23 patrollers from Canaan Valley, Timberline, Snowshoe, and other areas attended the event. The course teaches an understanding of avalanche terrain, the causes of avalanches, and search and rescue techniques. If you are interested in learning more about the course or holding one in your area next season, contact John Boburchuk by email or call 814-659-7017.



Seven Springs Ski Patrol Honors Three 50-Year Patrollers


Three patrollers were recognized for 50 years of service to the Seven Springs ski patrol and the National Ski Patrol at an awards banquet in April. All started their patrol careers together in 1964, but their backgrounds are quite diverse.


Jack Kowalski (left), born in 1937, is a retired postal carrier. Mild mannered, Jack became a senior early on, then trained many patrollers at his home patrol and the region over the years. He is a former region S&T and Senior adviser, and is still an OEC instructor.  Jack received National Appointment # 5509, a Blue Merit Star in 1995, and the Patroller Cross in 2007. 


Bob "Whitey" Weitzel (center), the young one of the group at 76, is outgoing and garrulous, never afraid to speak his mind. Now retired after years as a Nabisco Cookie sales representative, he serves as both a paid and volunteer patroller, and daylight supervisor. He  received a Purple Merit Star in 2004, and the Patroller Achievement Award this year.  


Jerry Leff (right), born in 1937, helped build his father's business, Leff Electronics, started out of the back of the family station wagon, into a successful enterprise. Now retired, Jerry was a former senior supervisor for his patrol. He also served in the military in the mid-60's.


We honor and thank these three men who have 150 years of patrol experience between them. They have given the better part of the lives to public service and the NSP.



Two Newest Certified Patrollers - Bart Gabler & Mike Wess

The region is pleased to announce and recognize Bart Gabler of Hidden Valley (Certified #786) and Mike Wess of Blue Knob (Certified #787) as the National Ski Patrol's newest Certified members! The Eastern Division Certified exam was held at Whiteface MT. Lake Placid NY in March.  Bart and Mike were the only two candidates to successfully complete all the components of the exam and earn the number and shield of a Certified patroller. As you may know, less than 1% of all NSP members are able to achieve this elite level.  With the addition of these two, the Western Appalachian Region has produced a total of 13 members in the past 40 years to reach this level.  This is a testament to the quality of teaching and dedication found in our region. Bart and Mike, on behalf of the S&T staff, "Congratulations."



Blue Knob YAP Caleb Parnell saves life

Caleb Parnell, a 17 year old Young Adult Patroller from Blue Knob Ski Patrol saved the life of a man who collapsed Sunday afternoon May 5th on the Hollidaysburg Area High School track where he and a friend were practicing football footwork drills. Both Golden Tigers football players, Caleb Parnell and Daniel Baker rushed over to Jerry Jackson, 68, who Parnell saw had fallen to the ground. An onlooker immediately called 911, but for the next 10 minutes, Jackson's heartbeat was in Baker's hands and his breath in Parnell's lungs. See the complete story in the Altoona Mirror, by clicking here.

Why Do We Ski at Tussey, There’s No Gondola?
By Jeff Banks

I read SKI Magazine and I don’t like it! Sure Lindsey Vonn is on the back cover and every other page has a phenomenal picture of incredible skiing in exotic locations but where is the article about our little mountain? I can dig it, who doesn't love Ms. Vonn, the outrageous skiing off of the Big Sky tram and the ethereal views from the base of Chamonix. The problem is I don’t live in France and my mom doesn’t give me enough allowance anymore to save up for ski trips out west. So, since our mountain is apparently not SKI Magazine article worthy, why do we ski at Tussey Mountain? I ponder this question as I sit in the roost after running training sleds on icy Tuscarora (Jon Eckess made me do it) this past Tuesday evening. It is not just because Eric Vorwald looks fantastic in his custom Patagonia outfits or because we love skiing with Brian Younkin, who is the best skier in the south eastern portion of Centre County, well actually the best in just the north western section of the south eastern portion of Centre County. It is primarily because our patrol has interesting people who have developed camaraderie over the years and we like to have fun skiing regardless of the conditions. When I started the patrol I only knew a few patrol candidates from my cohort and I felt a little intimidated with my limited experience compared to the seasoned patrollers. Over the years though, I am sure that many of us have had a similar experience developing friendships and gradually feeling like a part of a Tussey mountain patrol family (or at least like a step family that we see on weekends). I think that we have a good mix of old school and new school and yes, even the snow boarders aren’t bad to have around as long as they stay on their side of the mountain. Even though we don’t get 500 inches of powder or have slope side condos and the terrain sometimes resembles a frozen glacier or an oatmeal mush bowl more than a ski area, we do have a nice little fun mountain that is close to home and more importantly a place where you can always find a friendly ski partner. It’s been a great season and I look forward to seeing you all next year.

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2015 - 2016

Training Schedule


Nov 7 - MTR-2 Indoor Session - Laurel Highlands Nordic


Dec 5 - MTR Enhancement - Low Angle Rescue - WERI


Dec 12 - Nordic Senior Prereq - Laurel Highlands Nordic


Dec 19 - Toboggan Instructor Refresher - Seven Springs



Jan 9 - Nordic Senior Eval - Laurel Highlands Nordic - CANCELLED


Jan 10 - Senior EMM Clinic - Seven Springs


Jan 10 - S&T Clinic - Mt. Pleasant - CANCELLED


Jan 10 - S&T Clinic - Ski Sawmill - CANCELLED


Jan 15-17 - MTR-2 Outdoor Session - Laurel Highlands Nordic


Jan 22-24 - Division Nordic Senior Clinic - SNY Region


Jan 23 - Nordic Skills Clinic - Laurel Highlands Nordic


Jan 23-24 - Region YAP Seminar - Blue Knob


Jan 23 - S&T Clinic - Canaan


Jan 24 - Senior EMM/YAP Clinic - Blue Knob


Jan 24 - S&T Clinic - Wisp


Jan 24 - Senior EMM Clinic - Hidden Valley


Jan 30 - Intro to Avalanche Course - Laurel Hill State Park


Jan 31 - S&T Clinic - Tussey Mt.


Jan 31 - S&T Clinic - Ski Sawmill


Feb 6-7 - Region Patroller School - Seven Springs


Feb 7 - Senior EMM Clinic - Hidden Valley


Feb 20-21 - Division Nordic Senior Eval - Highland Forest, NY


Feb 21 - Senior EMM Clinic - Seven Springs


Feb 28 - Senior S&T Clinic - Seven Springs


Mar 6 - Senior EMM Clinic - Hidden Valley


Mar 12 - Senior S&T Exam - Seven Springs


Mar 13 - Senior EMM Eval - Hidden Valley


Mar 19 & 20 - Division YAP Seminar - Bromley, VT




National Ski Patrol

NSP - Eastern Division

Eastern PA Region

Region Nordic Patrols

Region Director

Marty Silverman