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National Ski Patrol - Western Appalachian Region News

2015 Refresher Schedule Posted

The 2015 region refresher schedule has been posted on the region home page and the schedule page. If you cannot attend your own patrol's refresher, please contact the IOR (instructor of record) to ask permission before attending another patrol's refresher. Be sure to bring your OEC card, patrol pack, and study guide to the refresher. You will not be admitted to the refresher without these three items.


2015 Region Elections

It's time for the Region Director elections. Bill Smith IV of Wisp is the only candidate for Region Director this year. Current Region Director, Marty Silverman, is in his last term and cannot run again. This year, elections for Region Director will be electronic, rather than by paper ballot. As per the region bylaws, the voting period is between the first and last refreshers in the region. On Saturday Sept 19th, you'll receive a ballot via email. You'll be asked to fill in your patroller number and NSP password. If you do not receive a ballot, your email address may be out of date or missing from the NSP database. If you don't recall your NSP number or password, or if you do not receive a ballot, or if you have any questions, please contact Marty Silverman. All ballots for Region Director must be completed by Oct 25th. Thanks for voting.


National Board Rep Elections - Starts October 15th.

Each year, you have an opportunity to vote for NSP National Board Representatives. This year, 12 candidates are running for 4 open positions. You can read the platforms and biographies of each candidate on the NSP website. It's important that every patroller participate in this election each year. Good participation means a better chance of having good people governing the National Ski Patrol. Last year, our region had 27% participation in this vote. Pretty good compared to less than 20% nationally. But less than the 29% participation we had the year before. Let's improve our participation this year. I encourage everyone to vote.


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


MTR-2 Course Announced

Region Nordic Adviser Jerry Timcik will be holding a level 2 Mountain Travel & Rescue (MTR) course at Kooser State Park this year. The prerequisite indoor session will held on Nov 7th, the Outdoor Session will be held on Jan 15-17. An MTR-1 intro to Mountain Travel & Rescue course is planned for Wisp. Date to be announced. Contact Jerry Timcik for details.


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.


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

Refresher Schedule


July 18 - IT Refresher - Hidden Valley (By invitation only)


Aug 15 - OEC Instructor Refresher - Seven Springs


Aug 29 - OEC Instructor Refresher - Baltimore, MD


Sept 19 - OEC Refresher - Seven Springs


Sept 20 - OEC Refresher - Blue Knob


Sept 20 - OEC Instructor Refresher - Ski Sawmill


Sept 27 - OEC Refresher - Boyce Park


Oct 3 - Nordic On-The-Trail - Laurel Summit Nordic


Oct 4 - OEC Refresher - Hidden Valley


Oct 17 - OEC Refresher - Canaan Valley


Oct 18 - OEC Refresher - Ski Sawmill


Oct 25 - OEC Refresher - Wisp


Training Schedule


Aug 9 - Instructor Development Course - Tussey Mt.


Sept 18-20 - AMN Instructor Refresher - Northfield Mt. WMA


Oct ? - MTR-1 - Wisp


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


Dec 5 - MTR Enhancement - Low Anglel Rescue - WERI


Dec 12 - Nordic Senior Prereq - Laurel Highlands Nordic


Jan 9 - Nordic Senior Eval - Laurel Highlands Nordic


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


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


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




National Ski Patrol

NSP - Eastern Division

Eastern PA Region

Region Nordic Patrols

Region Director

Marty Silverman